Positioned atop a small hill, some way into the park, the Steve Jobs Theater is reached via a gentle, winding walk through verdant parkland. Apple Park replaces five million square feet of asphalt and concrete with grassy fields and over 9,000 native and drought-resistant trees. This offers an opportunity to slow down before you begin a care- fully choreographed sequence of architectural experiences. The park is powered by 100 per cent renewable energy and has one of the largest on- site solar energy installations in the world.
Sir Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer at Apple, said: “The Steve Jobs Theater is a place for us to gather. It provides an opportunity for our friends and visitors to experience Apple Park and, from time to time, share in the excitement of our new products.” Norman Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman, Foster + Partners, recounted: “Right at the outset, Steve stressed that Apple Park should have its own theater for 1,000 people. He wanted just the lobby to be visible and for it to be discovered like a “jewel” in the park.”
To create the jewel, a lens-shaped roof rests gently on a transparent 22-foot- (6.6-meter) tall and 135- foot- (41.1-meter-) diameter glass cylinder. While appearing to float effortlessly, it is in fact the largest carbon-fiber roof in the world, weighing 80.7 tons (73.2 metric tons). Pushing the limits of materiality even further, just four layers of glass form the structural support. The glass is all that holds up the roof – there is not a single column. It is the largest all-glass-supported structure in the world.
The thin roof disc comprises 44 identical radial panels, which were assembled on-site and carefully craned into position onto the completed glass cylinder in a single lift. Services, such as electric conduits and sprinkler pipes, are invisibly integrated within the thin silicone joints between the curved glass panels. The purity of the lobby finds resonance in the ambitious custom glass elevator. In a world-first, it uses helical guide rails to rotate the car 171 degrees between levels. Two sculpted-stone stairways provide a slower descent into the belly of the Theater.