News & Opinion | June 4, 2019 2:42 pm

Apple’s New Headquarters Is Built to Be Earthquake-Proof

Apple's new main office is circular and doesn't, technically, sit on the ground

Apple's New Headquarters
An aerial view of the new Apple headquarters. (Justin Sullivan/ Getty)
Getty Images

Apple’s new main offic in Cupertino, California, smack dab in the middle of Silicon Valley, is circular, nearly a mile in circumference and nicknamed “the spaceship” because it’s not actually attached to the ground — which makes the structure shake about 80 percent less when an earthquake rolls through.

The building, which was completed early last year, will soldier on in the event of a quake while its neighbors will likely be left nonoperational for at least a few days, if not months, The New York Times reported. Apple’s HQ is designed to withstand the “big one,” via its base-isolation technology that features a protective seismic system in the basement.

The architectural feat has its own electricity supply and “a vast atrium with a variety of fruit trees.” Beneath the offices, which house some 9,000 engineers and Apple employees, are two underground stories that sit on top of 692 huge stainless steel saucers that can shift as much as four feet in any direction as the building shakes during a quake, according to the Times.

Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs endorsed the design, which was implemented in collaboration with Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer. Ive said the concept was largely influenced by Japanese engineering and the way roughly 9,000 buildings in the country use variations of base-isolation. Apple’s specific design was conceived of and built by a company called Earthquake Protection Systems. The tech giant is one of only a few American companies that use the system in earthquake-prone areas.

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