November 17, 2013
One need not assume the demise of Apple to question this design. Even if the company flourishes, this geometry can't be expanded without doing violence to its intended "perfection" (see my post at http://churchthatmoves.com/perfect-appl/#more-2178 )
Your reference to churches is a bit of a throw-away line but not necessarily untrue. What churches did you have in mind?
Ron, I would hate to name names, as that would lead to hurt feelings, but picture a megachurch on a 30 acre campus with a huge, connected building surrounded by acres of parking. Usually there is a sign as you exit the parking lot that says, "You are now entering the mission field." Every city of any size has one (or several) of these. These churches do a lot of good things, but being good neighbors isn't one of them.
David's description in this post evoked an image from C.S. Lewis' "That Hideous Strength", the third in his Space Trilogy. In the novel, the N.I.C.E. (National Institute for Co-ordinated Experiments) is taking over every aspect of applied science in England to engineer the perfect, rational society. Using backstairs tactics, the Institute purchases a wooded lot from Bracton College in the fictitious village of Edgestow, and immediately begins to clear to build its new headquarters. Promising rational and socially conscious construction practices, the N.I.C.E. instead seems to create disorder and conflict from the first turn of the spade. Lewis paints a bleak picture of scientific materials and trans-humanism versus a spiritual "reality" ordained by a Creator. The image of Apple's proposed campus and building brought Lewis' story vividly to mind. It's funny how few people fear a "take over" conspiracy by Apple...but if this building were being constructed by Microsoft or Google, well then....
Perhaps you missed the news of the hopeful repurposing of Eero Saarinen's suburban New Jersey Bell Laboratories building. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/11/realestate/commercial/future-takes-shape-for-bell-labs-site.html?_r=0 The hope for this building is to essentially turn it into the town center, with government, retail, hotel and residential space. Saarinen's building is probably better attuned to redevelopment than Apple's new complex but there are churches in malls and rock music venues and condos in former churches, buildings can be adapted.
It seems your main thrust is that the church or any organization should strive to be an active part of it's community both personally and architecturally.
Christopher: Good analog, thanks!
Just'n: Repurposing requires imagination and creativity, something humans have a lot of. But some of these suburban megaplexes require an extra dose of both, as opposed to an industrial loft building, which seems ready-made for repurposing, you know? You certainly are close to the target on what my main thrust is.
So this article leaves out a great deal, such as:
• This building helps consolidate many buildings all spread out in Santa Clara Valley, into one central location, thus reducing commute times between buildings by foot or vehicle
• 80% of the site will be green spaces with plants trees indigenous to Cupertino
• Presentations to the public will be on the site, at a designated Steve Jobs Auditorium
• The area being developed, is an old HP site that sat a dormant useless eyesore for decades after earthquake damage
• Consolidating buildings allows for the older buildings to be torn down, and for green spaces to be created, or room for more new business
• There is still a lot of space around and in the middle
• The location around the site has dozens of apartments (just across the street even) and walkable access to new townhome/condos that include restaurants
But hey, ignore those facts. Why not simply state that churches should be better stewards of their resources - multiuse space, sharing space with other churches, land, green area, power saving options, and not isolating the surrounding community.
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