Apple’s upcoming iSpaceship auditorium looks like a hovering flying saucer

iSpacehip auditorium (image 001)

Now that the City of Cupertino Council has approved Apple’s upcoming flying saucer-shaped, 2.8 million square feet corporate building called Campus 2 (or iSpaceship, informally), the company’s slated to break ground real soon. The 4-story, eco-friendly building is already $2 billion over budget and should open by 2016.

The project includes a massive 1,000-person auditorium designed for hosting Apple’s theatrical product unveilings. We’ve seen incredibly detailed mockups and the wonderful scale model by the world-renowned architect Sir Norman Foster and now come renderings of Apple’s auditorium which looks like a flat saucer hovering over the ground…

Seth Weintraub of 9to5Mac passed along the mockups dug up by Robin Parrish of Apple Gazette. The image top of post envisions the auditorium entrance surrounded by glass and with a metal roof – notice the glass elevator on the left side next to a staircase.

If Campus 2 looks like the spaceship has landed, the corporate auditorium reminds us of a hovering flying saucer. But that’s just the roof you’re looking at as the the auditorium itself will be underground.

Visitors will reach the underground theater by entering a large, round lobby with a disc-shaped metal roof and circular walls made entirely of glass.

As the rendering below depicts, the auditorium is actually a separate structure off the main circular glass structure, which itself will be home to roughly 12,000 employees and research and development folks.

iSpacehip auditorium (image 002)

If you thought Apple’s media events were magical, wait until Campus 2 comes online. And here’s the floor plan from our auditorium image gallery from last September.

Apple Campus 2 (Auditorium 002 lot)

You can see the stage, backstage and auditorium sections on the left and a huge circular exhibition space on the right. And right below is the auditorium cross section.

Apple Campus 2 (Auditorium 001 lot)

One thing’s certain: come 2016, Apple keynotes will be even more captivating.

Per Apple’s brochure, the auditorium will host product launches and corporate events. Apple’s lavish product shows typically take place inside the tiny Town Hall, Cupertino campus. The double iPhone announcement, for example, was held at the venue as were internal company-wide meetings for Apple employees.

verge yerba center

Also losing a lot of business soon: San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (pictured above) which was home to many product unveilings, among them the original iPad introduction and last week’s iPad Air event.

Just don’t count on the 1,000-seat Campus 2 auditorium hosting Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference as it’s too small to fit the 5,000 people who attended this year’s annual developers pilgrimage in San Francisco’s Moscone West building.

I imagine Apple will also use the auditorium for shareholder meetings and staff events. It probably won’t be used on a day to day basis as it would take employees quite a walk to get from Mothership to the auditorium.

iSpaceship will also include an orchard, a fitness center, a cafeteria for 3,000 people, a courtyard in the middle and a dedicated plant generating clear energy from natural gas and other environmentally sound means.

iSpaceship (Scale model)
Campus 2 scale model.

Every pane of glass used for the structure is curved.

“There is not a straight piece of glass in this building. It’s a circle, so it’s curved all the way round,” Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs said during a presenation before the City of Cupertino Council. “This is not the cheapest way to build something.”

During the iPad Air presentation, Apple’s software engineering boss Craig Federighi at one point loaded up a website with an iSpaceship article and jokingly remarked, “I for one look forward to working in outer space”.

Full info on Apple’s Campus 2 project is at the City of Cupertino website.