Steve Jobs First Conceived “Statement HQ” for Apple in 1983

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs made quite the impression last week with his presentation to the Cupertino city council for a giant circular headquarters for his company, but his dreams for a “Statement HQ” for Apple began in 1983, according to former San Jose mayor Tom McEnery. Mr. McEnery, who was mayor of San Jose from 1983 to 1991, told The San Jose Mercury News about Mr. Jobs’s plans for an iconic Apple campus to be located in San Jose’s Coyote Valley.

Then, as now, Mr. Jobs had lined up a world-class architect to head the project. In 1983 it was I.M. Pei, who designed such buildings as the John F. Kennedy Library (see photo below), the Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell, the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, and several other iconic buildings. Mr. Pei is 94 years old, today.

The John F. Kennedy Library

The John F. Kennedy Library
Photo by Eric Baetscher, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

According to Mr. McEnery, he and Mr. Jobs met at Carry Nation’s, a bar in Los Gatos. Though he was mayor of San Jose, he said they had to go to Los Gatos to find a nice place to eat (London Oyster House) and then to talk over drinks (Carry Nation’s) because the nicest restaurant in San Jose at the time was a Sizzler.

He also said that Mr. Jobs was pitching the idea of moving Apple from Cupertino to San Jose, specifically to the undeveloped area called Coyote Valley. He told the Mercury News that Mr. Jobs said at the time, “I want to help you make San Jose a great city.” Mr. McEnery went on to preside over major growth, including bringing many tech companies to his city, during his two terms as mayor.

The former mayor added, “What sticks in my mind is he clearly saw the potential in San Jose. We could have a great set of campuses, a la Stanford Industrial Park.”

The article also sources Bob Feld, a real estate developer who said he took Mr. Jobs on a helicopter tour of the Coyote Valley property, and then walked the land with the Apple founder.

“In my mind, he was very unequivocal about the vision he saw there. He did not come across as ‘Let me think about it,’” Mr. Feld said. “When we landed there, he was seeing things, he was seeing it right there that minute. There was no hesitancy.”

Mr. Feld said that they drafted a deal the next day for Apple to purchase the property in an all-cash transaction, and that the deal was in done shortly thereafter. Apple went on to sell the land sometime after Steve Jobs left Apple after a power struggle with then-CEO John Sculley in 1985, and clearly the project never advanced.

In last week’s presentation to the Cupertino city council, Mr. Jobs made the case that Cupertino had been good for Apple, and he seemed passionate about wanting to keep the company in that city, rather than moving somewhere else. Had things have been different, he might have been pitching Apple Statement HQ 2.0 to San Jose’s city council, instead.

You can find additional details at The Mercury News.

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17 Comments Leave Your Own

Lee Dronick

When was the current Apple Campus built? I am thinking that it was the early ‘90s.

freshh20

Read this Times article:  http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,986849,00.html#ixzz11iF01ScC

The old board of directors at Apple is history, he says. He’s about to leave for Boston, where he’ll make that news public, along with a far more dramatic announcement. One more thing, he says, feet still propped up on the executive woodwork—the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., is history too. Eight stories of corporate excess are about to be abandoned. “I hate this building,” says Jobs. “This building has come to symbolize everything that went wrong with Apple. It’s about corporate hubris. Greed.” This is not a building that can make “insanely great” computer products.

krventh

According to wikipedia, construction of 1 Infinite Loop was completed in 1993.

BurmaYank

“Read this Times article...”

Thanks mucho for that ?insanely great? article!

emozion

The John F Kennedy Library is wonderful, but I M Pei’s most famous work is the Louvre Pyramid. Leaving those fine buildings to one side, I don’t quite see the point in highlighting the purported architect of an ‘80s project that never came to be.

I was much more exited to learn from the Mercury News story that Norman Foster is the architect for the new Apple campus. I believe no architect was named by Jobs in his presentation to Cupertino city council.

Lee Dronick

I was much more exited to learn from the Mercury News story that Norman Foster is the architect for the new Apple campus. I believe no architect was named by Jobs in his presentation to Cupertino city council.

No he didn’t mention the architect at the Council meeting, thanks for telling us is Norman Foster. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Foster_(architect)

FlipFriddle

Ugh. IM Pei. I have to suffer one of his monstrosities every day where I work at University of Rochester. The interior space is nice, but the complete lack of detail and an exterior of a huge featureless brown cube that is falling apart after only 35 years isn’t much to brag about. It looks like the Soviet Union took a brown, cubic dump on our campus. I think he was “mailing it in” for this one.

Nice to Steve thinking big even back in the day.

emozion

Thanks for the pointer!

Lee Dronick

Okay now I concerned. Norman Foster is designing a fly saucer shaped building for Apple, even a Cupertino City Councilman referred to it as “The Mothership.” Previously Mr. Foster designed this space ship which is currently located in London. Personally I think that these buildings have something to do with the rise of simians which according to this story starts in San Francisco. I am going to put on my mylar hat and degauss my house before going to bed.

Patrick

Looks vaguely like the GCHQ in the UK. This a government site similar to the NSA here in the US.
Check it out…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_Communications_Headquarters

geoduck

Ugh. IM Pei. I have to suffer one of his monstrosities every day where I work at University of Rochester

Look on the bright side. They could have had a complete brain f*** and gone with Gehry. Now THERE’s someone that’s more interested in doing sculpture than making a building that’s even slightly useful. I had the misfortune to be at the U of MN when they put up the Weismann Art Museum. Looks totally out of place, morning sun glints off the chrome panels making life hard for pedestrians, drivers, and people in nearby buildings. Worst of all the Museum ended up with LESS gallery space than they started with. I.M. Pei’s designs might be a bit odd but at least they work as buildings. Gehry’s more about promoting Gehry than making anything that works for people. Another example is the Ray and Maria Stata Centre on the MIT Campus. A terrible building, more about the Architect’s ego than being useful. He got sued over that one.

So while there might be this or that quibble about the Mothership, at least it’ll work as a building for Apple’s purposes.

Lee Dronick

Look on the bright side. They could have had a complete brain f*** and gone with Gehry

There was an episode on The Simpsons where Frank Gehry got his inspiration for a building from a piece of crumpled paper. Anyway, it just so happens that yesterday I read this story about deconstructionism on an art website. So if you don’t know about Gehry check out that link, some of the examples in the story aren’t too bad.

FlipFriddle

I’m with you geoduck; Gehry is a good example of today’s architects being frustrated sculptors. It’s one of the reasons I lost interest in Architecture school and went into graphic design. The sense of human scale and interaction has been lost to the grandiose overall form. The celebration of entrances and human scale detail is all but gone in post-modernism. I remember seeing a story on the Gehry building at MIT; while the architecture press lauded it as a triumph, the poor souls who had to work in it said all of the curved walls made it impossible to stack things against walls, modify the spaces, or use standard furniture. Nice one Frank.

geoduck

the poor souls who had to work in it said all of the curved walls made it impossible to stack things against walls, modify the spaces, or use standard furniture.

I saw a This Old House where they toured the MIT Centre. I found it funny that while the Host and his tour guide were wandering around praising the building and it’s design, in the background you could see piles of copier paper boxes stacked up because there was no place for normal book cases or cabinets or shelving units. I also caught one grad student (?) in the background glaring at the guide while he dug through boxes looking for something and the guide was talking about how it was the perfect building for robotics research.

Sir Harry:
Thanks for the link. Some of those do look really cool but A) all but one were not designed by Gehry, and B) I wonder how well they work as buildings.

dhp

Hey geoduck, I guess the U of MN is not too displeased with the Weisman, because it is currently undergoing expansion with Frank Gehry as architect. Personally I love the building, but then I’m a sculptor. The thing I don’t like is that the U decided to cover those nice old pedestrian bridges over Washington Ave. with matching metal panels.

BTW, the East Bank is being transformed as light rail is built along Washington and cars are no longer allowed.

geoduck

I guess the U of MN is not too displeased with the Weisman

I worked at the U of MN for 10 years in the Controllers Office. One thing that became apparent to me what the disconnect between the top people who have reserved parking spaces under Johnston Hall and at McNamara Centre and those of us working in the trenches.

And don’t get me wrong as SCULPTURE Gehry’s stuff is very striking. I’d live to see the Weismann as a giant installation in a park somewhere, much the same way I love “the bean” in Chicago. I get annoyed when it becomes a building and function is sacrificed for art. Buildings can be striking, inspiring, even beautiful (IMO the new Apple Mothership stands a good chance of succeeding on all three). However above all, the #1 priority of a building is that it has to work as a building. It has to allow those that are to live and work in it to do what they need. Over and over I hear from the people who have to deal with them on a daily basis that Gehry’s designs don’t.

Glad to hear that East Bank is getting a light Rail station. For that matter I’m glad to hear that light rail is progressing in the Twin Cities. It was sorely needed.

akcarver

Look on the bright side. They could have had a complete brain f*** and gone with Gehry.

I have to agree. Gehry designed the ugliest building in King County, WA, the Experience Music Project. It looks like a dog ate a bag of M&Ms; and then vomited them up again. Complete trash.

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