Calculating the Size of Apple’s Spaceship HQ

| Analysis

New architectural information has been released about Apple’s proposed, so-called spaceship headquarters in Cupertino. There are lots of things to know about it, but one interesting fact is the diameter. How does it compare, for example, to the DOD’s Pentagon? I was curious.

1. First, let’s look at the Pentagon in Arlington, VA. According to Wikipedia, each side of the Pentagon is 921 ft (281 m) long. A circle circumscribed on the outside of a pentagon whose sides are 921 ft long has a radius of 783 ft. So a circle that would circumscribe the Pentagon has a diameter of 1,566 ft.

r = (921 ft/2)/(sin 36 deg) = 783 ft.

Pentagon

Image credit: Wikipedia

2. There are several ways to get at the size of Apple’s spaceship. For the sake of a sanity check, I used Google Maps to calculate the distance from Wolfe Road to Tantau Ave. I printed out the map and used a ruler to extrapolate the distance. It came out to 2632 ft.

New Apple campus loc.

Credit: Google Maps

3. Next, I looked at the architectural drawing pointed to by Jeff Gamet’s “Cupertino Unveils Apple Spaceship Campus Details.” Digging down, I found this plot, again with Wolfe Road and Tantau Ave clearly marked.

Apple Campus Arch. Drawing

I couldn’t find a notation on that drawing of the diameter of the circular building, but I did find scale marks at the bottom. Note that the distance between the outside red arrows is marked as 600 ft. By that scale, I measured the distance between Wolfe Road and Tantau Ave as 2653 ft.

Given that comforting sanity check, I measured the diameter of the Apple spaceship as 1615 ft, plus or minus a few ft., depending on where one places the ruler. That’s a radius of 807.5 ft.

So, if one could magically fly the future Apple spaceship to Arlington, VA and hover over the Pentagon, it would just slightly cover it. [See the UPDATE below.]

Here’s a rough overlay* showing the Apple HQ, the Pentagon, and top to bottom: a cruise ship, a U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier, what looks like a U.S. Navy Blimp, a WWII battleship, the Empire State Building and a supertanker.

Apple HQ - Pentagon Overlay

This was a fun exercise and helps one put into perspective the size of the proposed new Apple headquarters.

_____

* Pentagon overlay graphic: wikipedia.

UPDATE: Some of our expert readers have dug into the docs and found the exact number for the Apple spaceship radius. It’s just under 761 ft. My estimate was high by 6%, and so the outer radius wouldn’t completely cover the Pentagon.

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40 Comments Leave Your Own

cb50dc

Very cool!

Fastflyer

Neat. I wonder what the floor space of the annulus is compared to the five rings of the pentagon. Any idea of how many floors it has?

Lee Dronick

It is not a spaceship, it is an ape proof fortress. smile

Just by eying the comparison I think that the Pentagon may have more floor space because it is thicker. Wiki says that the Pentagon has 6,500,000 square feet of floor space. Maybe after breakfast I will try to compute the floor space of the new Apple headquarters.

Tulse

According to page 2 of the floor plan document, the outer radius is 760’ 7”.  The total area listed is 2,820,000 square feet.

alainton

Its so big it stops being functional as a building - places this large need to be designed as towns and not single structures

See http://andrewlainton.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/apple-campus-2-the-size-of-a-town-but-doesnt-work-as-one/

Francisco Carreno

Hey John, you gotta check drawing P-8.01 (Proposed Main Building, Level 1, Plan). The outer radius is indicated there. It’s 760’-7”.

Now you can have super accurate comparison.

Francisco Carreno

@alainton
Pleople need to walk. It’s gonna be good for them. Walking through a park to go to work is what every employee that works in a office needs. C’on, we need some exercise. Those 20min-walk to the cafeteria could be used to relax or think about a project.
I don’t think everybody will eat at the same time. And it’s actually easier to bring supplies if you have just one cafeteria. If you take a look at the drawings, this is what the meant to do. Check the loading area.

Alex Conley

The green blimp is the Hindenburg.

EvanZ

One lap ~ 1 mile. I hope there’s an indoor track.

joe

Soylent Green is people

ETS

No one seems to realize how many bugs and critters all that “green space” is going to attract.

Hopefully everyone at Apple will have their allergies in check before stepping inside the Apple forest.

Nature is not at all cute and fuzzy, its quite deadly when left to its own devices.

Francisco Carreno

I’m sure this rejection and negativity for new ideas wasn’t the path Apple followed to design the iPad and iPhone.

Lee Dronick

Soylent Green is people

I have actually eaten Soylent Green, my wife was an extra in the movie and brought some home. She was in the food riot scene, “The scoops are coming!” and went through the plate glass window when she got caught up in the rush. See her here at the 6 second mark, she is about 1/3 in from the right side, at the front of the crowd and is wearing the white mask/filter.  At the 41 second mark you can see her on top of the pile of stuntmen as they go through the glass window, she wasn’t supposed to do that.

Of course the Soylent Green was just crackers died green.

myramoki

In the future, maybe Apple can build a tower in the middle.  It’d could be like a modern day Isengard.  Jobs could be up in the tower and then truly ‘come off his ivory tower’ would be oh so appropriate.  But seriously, I tower in the middle would be kinda cool.  A gleaming iPod white monolith.

John Dingler, artist

Someone needs to analyze the extent of built-in fascism, if any, is promoted by the nature of the circular design where the halls seem to have no beginnings and endings. At least the control freak Pentagon has beginnings and endings to its walls.

Drew Bear

Bravo! Standing ovation.

Aaron

Pulling up the Infinite Loop campus, at the widest part it’s outer diameter is about 980 feet, so 65% of the planned campus’s diameter (using 760 as the radius).

But start including any of the other buildings, like walking from the corner of DeAnza 3 that I was in to IL 3, and you match the distance of the diameter of the new structure.

After just working in an even larger manufacturing site, where walking end to end was a half mile, I don’t see much of a problem with it.  Infact, a circle is more efficient than a long rectangle, since you can cut across.

Wish I was still working there, but CA taxes are insane if you start making lots of money.  With 3 of our 4 years since moving to NV being sizably lucrative, we’ve saved a lot so far and it’s likely we will save another huge chunk this year by moving from CA to NV.

Lee Dronick

Take a look at the floor plans http://www.cupertino.org/inc/pdf/apple/FloorPlan_Cross_Section.pdf

There may be walls at the “Entrance Cores” which would break up the never ending circle

Tulse

Someone needs to analyze the extent of built-in fascism, if any, is promoted by the nature of the circular design

Um, “none”?

rufferto

The Never Ending Circle is ok. The Pentagon is that way to keep Cthulu from getting out.

geoduck

I have actually eaten Soylent Green, my wife was an extra in the movie and brought some home.

Cooooooool
Not everyone can say that.

prak

But… does it blend??

Tobias Wolf

With that circumference, it could be built as a helix and the floors would have no discernible slope.  Or maybe even a double helix.

We’ve done away with buttons.  Stairs are next.

Dan H

Give me a few minutes.  I think I can dig up my Star Fleet Technical Manual that I had when I was a kid.  It had schematics for all the major United Federation of Planets starships (and a few of the major spaces tations, too).

I’d say the Apple HQ is much bigger than the Constitution class of starships (as the Enterprise was).  Maybe as big as the Galaxy class ships.

Beam me up, Steve!

John Martellaro

Dan H: As I recall, the original Enterprise was about 1000 ft (300 m) long—with the saucer section about 300 ft in diameter.

As you said, the Galaxy class (Picard’s??) was much bigger. Anyone have the numbers?

My next question:  Could this Apple HQ be seen from orbit?  Say, the iSS, with the nake eye?

varuna

Apple should have used the super tanker.

Lee Dronick

Could this Apple HQ be seen from orbit?? Say, the iSS, with the nake eye?

It would probably blend in with the other structures of the city.

http://www.smarterthanthat.com/astronomy/man-made-structures-seen-from-space/

Duncan Babbage

Wow, that really is one infinite loop.
wink

Drew Robinson

Sir Harry Flashman: It is not a spaceship, it is an ape proof fortress. smile

Oh, it’s a link to the new Planet of the Apes movie!

I thought that was a thinly-veiled Steve Ballmer joke.

bringobrango

It would probably blend in with the other structures of the city.

Ah, so it actually does blend. wink

Ikya

What a waste of well earned wealth… Perhaps, sharing it with the millions of hungry, diseased and dying in Africa would surely augment the already no # 1 brand image of Apple!
yeah! How about giving to and allowing Africa to develop more than the paky’s deserve.

Lee Dronick

Ah, so it actually does blend.

That joke is “Waring” smile

Mark

So if the diameter was closer to say 1680, it’s circumference would be a cool mile (5280’).

Player_16

You should use Sketch-up. You have everything right there.

BuzzMega

On Apple’s “Floor Plan” drawings, there’s a summary of the square footage of each floor. 4 above ground. 2 basements. The basement total square footage is around 2.5 million sq. ft. Above ground it comes out to about 2.8 million sq. ft.

The Empire State Building contains about 2.7 million sq. ft.

Other drawings in the set state the outer radius as 760’7” and inner radius as 580’11”.

highwayinthesky

As you said, the Galaxy class (Picard?s??) was much bigger. Anyone have the numbers?

According to Memory Alpha, the length of a Galaxy-class starship is, according to most sources, 2108 feet.

charanga

Its so big it stops being functional as a building - places this large need to be designed as towns and not single structures

See http://andrewlainton.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/apple-campus-2-the-size-of-a-town-but-doesnt-work-as-one/

alainton, I completely agree. Rather than being a delightful experience, users of this building may feel intimidated because of the lack of human-scale details. I’ve been in Apple’s Infinite Loop buildings, and for me they work well as a village. Entrances are clearly marked, office widows and balconies communicate human scale, and each of the buildings has it’s own quirky character.

This new “spaceship” evokes a vision of something like ants working to serve the good of the colony, without regard for individual meaning.

SW

No one seems to realize how many bugs and critters all that ?green space? is going to attract.

Hopefully everyone at Apple will have their allergies in check before stepping inside the Apple forest.

Nature is not at all cute and fuzzy, its quite deadly when left to its own devices.

Ahahahaha, are you kidding? This is the saddest statement I’ve ever seen.

Gomez

And when you realize this is build up from the money they made by selling their EyeThings to the arrogant teenagers and shady businessmen 100X the price of production which costs hundreds of lives from Chinese and African 3rd world countries workers every month, this all makes you feel a total disgust for this company.

Fred Rubble

Let’s make it real easy,
to WALK around the pentagon is 4,605 feet
to Wask around the new apple campus is 4,778 feet.
It is a longer walk around the new Apple Campus, but not a whole lot.

and by building volum, the pentagon is much bigger.  Though the new Apple campus is much nicer looking…

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