AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission as an Amazon Associate and affiliate partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content.
Phase two of Apple's ambitious Campus 2 construction project is now underway as obsolete buildings have been demolished over the past weeks to make way for new testing workshops and facilities for research and development.
The first phase of Apple Campus 2 — including its above ground and underground parking, theater complex and central "Spaceship" ring of office space— began to rise this winter.
The project's Phase 2 was planned to provide additional research and development space, but planning changes over the winter modified the original outline for adding several, small R&D buildings into a new plan that envisioned fewer but significantly larger research and testing facilities on the east edge of the site, with the buildings all echoing the clean, simple lines and glass walls of the central "Spaceship" Ring.
To make way for the sleek new low-rise glass R&D facilities, a series of existing buildings along North Tantau Avenue have been removed. The first to go was visible in previous Campus 2 flyover reports, but new video shows additional buildings being torn down or prepared for demolition. The obsolete buildings will be replaced by highly efficient, modern facilities with improved, drought-tolerant landscaping and less surface parking.
One of the sad buildings being demolished (below) is this two story office block with a basement floor of parking and a very broad eave— a design element that will be echoed in the new buildings taking its place, whether on purpose or not.
Another change called for in planning documents is a continuation of the concrete fence that currently runs along part of the property line. As show in the panoramic photo below, that wall currently stops to become a tangle of fences.
The office buildings being replaced are on the east edge of the city line of Cupertino. Across the wall (or fence), a series of very different suburban residential streets define the western edge of Sunnyvale. The Phase 2 project borders Jenny Strand Park, including picnic grounds, tennis courts and a large green lawn that employees will have access to through the property barrier.
The new buildings of Campus 2, Phase 2 will be stitched together by a boardwalk and landscaping featuring a variety of redwood, oak and other deciduous trees paired with sustainable ground cover designed to require minimal irrigation.
A dedicated five story parking garage will house 620 vehicles for Phase 2 workers. That building will also feature a roof covered with solar panels (similar to the two primary parking structures of Campus 2) in order to help offset its energy use, even prior to accounting for the separate off-site solar array the company is funding in rural Monterey County to the south.
The new parking garage's solar panels will in particular help offset the energy use of the facility's 32,000 square foot data center planned for its basement, likely dedicated to the research, testing and workshop activities related to Phase 2 activities.
Tantau gets a Phase-lift
Viewed from above, a series of sleek, white rectangular buildings— housing an additional 2,200 employees— are planned on 16 acres at the southeast corner of the Campus 2 site along North Tantau Avenue where it intersects with the 280 freeway, east of the large main parking structures now under construction.
Originally, this secondary development was portrayed as ten square buildings on either side of Tantau, along with one larger rectangular building (as depicted below). Apple's revamped plans for Phase 2 merge these boxes together into fewer, larger office buildings, with a dedicated parking structure that will incorporates racks of servers in an on-site data center.
Phase 2 could be an automotive design center
The timing of the Phase 2 redesign correlates with Apple's reported moves to focus on development of an automotive product. AppleInsider outlined the company's automotive industry inclinations back in 2012, but recent mainstream media reports that suggest the company plans to develop an entire vehicle are relatively new.
That indicates that Campus 2's Phase 2 R&D and testing facilities were realigned last fall, likely in order to address an evolving strategy involving much larger products than Apple has ever designed and built before, whether a car or vehicle information systems the company would be testing within vehicles.
The largest building in the Phase 2 cluster is a four story, 300,000 square foot office building (below) devoted to research and development, featuring expansive curtain walls of glass that provide unobstructed views of the surrounding landscaping.
The main Phase 2 building includes one level of 280 underground parking spaces— including facilities for electric vehicles— with limited additional parking on the surface, making room for plenty of bicycle parking and open landscaping.
Apple may intend to use these new buildings to develop an electric vehicle— potentially even a self driving car— but the Phase 2 R&D campus expansion itself is designed to encourage employees' transit use, ride sharing and bicycle commuting, a significant shift from the previous car-centric suburban sprawl it replaces.
The Phase 2 site's former 103,000 square feet of office space at Ridgeview Court 1 (below) was demolished in January. Expansive surface parking lots previously covered most of the open land surrounding the buildings.
Over the past year, Apple used part of the former parking lot to build a mockup prototype section of the Ring for testing.
That temporary structure was also removed over the winter, leaving a bare lot on a island of land separated from the rest of the Campus 2 site by Calabazas Creek.
The main Phase 2 building will also include a kitchen, espresso bar and dining facilities overlooking a landscaped outdoor seating area along the creek. The southern boundary will feature an acoustic wall to help shield the site from freeway traffic noise.
The street side of the building will be partially obscured by new trees (below), while the secure and private inner side will be surrounded by landscaping.
Planning documents indicate that the site's secured, secluded and serene location are key elements in its design as an R&D facility, giving designers a relaxing, reflective space to develop new products and the technologies that will power them.
Car-sized testing workshop facilities
Across the street, a pair of two story testing facilities will provide 222,000 square feet of additional workshop and office space, replacing Apple's three existing buildings at the Tantau 1 and Tantau 2 locations and nearly doubling their existing 146,000 square feet of office space.
In place of the surface lots, a separate five story parking structure will provide room for 620 vehicles as well as a new 32,000 square foot data center located in the basement.
Like the two much larger parking structures in Phase 1, this building will also feature a roof covered in solar panels to help offset its energy use, even prior to accounting for the separate off-site solar array the company is funding in rural Monterey County to the south.
Apple's architects presented proposed renderings of the parking structure both with and without mesh panels, both featuring a design complementing the circular main campus and reflecting the minimal, open design concept previously used in a series of new Apple retail stores, including the company's nearby Stanford store.
A third office building to the north of the creek will contribute another 84,000 square feet of space in a smaller two story structure of a similar design, at the location of existing Apple buildings at Tantau 3.
The R&D, testing workshop facilities and server data center of Phase 2 will complement the 2.8-million-square-foot "Spaceship" Ring designed to accommodate 12,000 employees, along with a fitness center, auditorium, transit center and other amenities.
AppleInsider presented an video overview (above) of construction progress in the March Campus 2 report, as well as a follow up report depicting the rising structure topping out the Spaceship's high ceiling cafeteria segment.