How Norman Foster Brought Steve Job's Vision to Life


As the founder and chairman of the world-renowned British architecture firm, Foster & Partners, Sir Norman Foster continues to grow his international presence by bringing the legacies of others to life.

How Norman Foster Brought Steve Job's Vision to Life

British Architect Sir Norman Foster

Recently, Apple's newest campus, coined 'Apple Park' by Steve Jobs and designed by Sir Foster, opened its doors in Cupertino, California.
How Norman Foster Brought Steve Job's Vision to Life

Apple Park Concept Design, designed by Sir Norman Foster

The campus' modernistic, circular ring stretches 175 acres and houses nine entrances, a visitor center, and Apple departments strategically placed for efficiency, all surrounded by a park. With construction of the project reportedly totaling $5 billion, the 2.8 million square-foot structure houses 13,000 employees. The campus' dazzling grand opening in April prompted the arrival of thousands of employees and visitors in the following weeks. Its unique layout and exquisite interior design were the result of an ingenious collaboration between two of the most creative minds the world has ever known: American entrepreneur Steve Jobs and British Architect Sir Norman Foster.

For the execution of such a prestigious and heavily anticipated project, one can't help but wonder what made Foster the chosen man for the job. Foster, a former recipient of the Henry Fellowship at Yale, received his Masters degree in Architecture at the Jonathan Edwards College. He went on to establish Foster & Partners, which now has offices around the globe and buildings erected in six continents. In addition to a lifetime's worth of experience in the industry, Foster was also the recipient of the Royal Gold Medal in Architecture and a Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate.

How Norman Foster Brought Steve Job's Vision to Life

The Hearst Tower, designed by Sir Norman Foster

Foster's team's work can be appreciated on a universal scale, from the Hearst Tower in New York to London's famed Gherkin Tower. From a surface level, his creations are sharply-edged and modern; however, the stunning interiors and functionality of each building go far beyond aesthetics and Apple Park is no exception.

How Norman Foster Brought Steve Job's Vision to Life

Gherkin Tower, designed by Sir Norman Foster

How did Foster land the role that arguably every architect in the world was vying for? According to his accounts in an interview, Steve Jobs contacted Foster in 2009 for assistance with creating the incredibly intricate design that he envisioned for the campus. Rather than managing the more traditional architect-client relationship, Foster and Jobs chose to constitute a more collaborative approach to the project. In an interview about their work together, Foster says the following:

"One of the most memorable things and perhaps vital to the project was Steve saying, 'Don't think of me as your client. Think of me as one of your team'."


The collaborative approach of both Jobs and Foster is quite notable in the physical manifestation of Apple Park. Foster's grasp on modernism, combined with Jobs' vision for the campus, makes for a structure with truly innovative facilities, polished interior frameworks, and renewable energy in various aspects.

How Norman Foster Brought Steve Job's Vision to Life

Apple Park Concept Design, designed by Sir Norman Foster

Despite some negative backlash regarding Apple's sense of renewability, the building promises to consistently utilize 100% renewable energy, recycled water, and solar panels. The layout is inspired by components of London Square, Hyde Park, and pivotal monuments from Jobs' adolescence, such as Stanford University's campus, according to Foster. Apple Park's extraordinary infrastructure embodies the notion that shape should follow function, which is why the space is fully equipped for efficiency.


Though some critics may disparage aspects of the monument, many will argue that the building is nothing if not one-of-a-kind. While Steve Jobs passed away of cancer in 2011 and ultimately did not get to witness the erection of his extraordinary vision for Apple Park, Sir Norman Foster was able to carry out the project with grace and ardor.

How Norman Foster Brought Steve Job's Vision to Life

1,000-seat auditorium at Apple Park will be named after Steve Jobs

Be sure to join our email list to stay abreast of other innovative trends, brands, and materials in architecture.


Looking to stay inspired every day? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to see daily projects and architecture highlights!

Read More

Comments (4)

Patrick, Architectural Draftsperson • Jun 30

The unfortunate thing about this wondrous, green building is that Cupertino City Regulations mean that they have to provide somewhere in the region of 11,000 car park spaces; nine thousand of which will be above ground. It means the utopian images above will be, in reality, surrounded by a sea of car parking. Sad, but typical car-centric planning rules.

Rumen, Architect • Jun 29

What about pictures of the finished product that exemplifies the function so much mentioned in the article? Engage us with actual content please, not just an opinion on other's opinions. Inspire us and be the inspiration you wish to see Modlar!

broj, Estimator • Jun 28


Stephen, Architect Office - Other • Aug 24

Patrick, Be patient, these parking areas will soon give way to the Driver-less electric cars on the horizon. Man just takes time to adapt, it is not instantaneous as young people would like. At the some point technology will replace the need for individuals to own a car. You want to worry, try earthquakes, talk about environmental catastrophe.