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A look inside Apple's Steve Jobs Theater

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6 mins
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  • Steve Jobs Theater is full of surprises and secrets.
  • The theater has a minimalist design and is earthquake-proof.
  • The glass elevator has a unique feature, and the roof hides speakers.
  • The top floor has a simple illusion and clever wiring.
  • The theater is a testament to innovation and engineering, with natural sound-absorbing qualities.



The Steve Jobs Theater, part of the Apple’s headquarters located in Cupertino, California, still holds many secrets and surprises, despite its wide popularity. Designed by Foster + Partners, the theater has no visible frame, pipes, wires or speakers, all of which are hidden. The carbon fiber roof, supported by the glass frame, houses 44 glass panels that allow light to come in. To add to the aesthetic appeal of the theater, the architects also placed antennas for the internal communication system inside the dark bars overhead. Image credit: ArchDaily Image credit: Foster+Partners The lobby of the theater is built to withstand earthquakes with a magnitude of 8-plus. The external terrace, glass panels and roof sit on pendulum isolators, allowing them to remain stationary while the earth moves around them. The ring of white terrazzo slabs inside will slide up over the top of the floor slabs if the wall moves toward them. The theater would still be intact even if it loses every other glass panel.

Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, worked with Foster + Partners on every aspect of the building. The building’s minimalist design is evident on every surface, with subtle and beautiful designs. The glass elevator that takes visitors from the lobby to the foyer has a curved line etched into the door, indicating where to push to open the door. The elevator corkscrews as it goes up and down, and the guide rails on the outside turn the compartment as it goes up and down to avoid having two doors on the passenger compartment. Image credit: Dezeen The theater has a large, completely open top floor, giving it an illusion of simplicity. Foster + Partners placed the sprinkler system water pipes in the joints separating each glass panel. The remaining joints house wiring for power, data and audio. During the iPhone X launch event, there were no visible speakers, as they were placed inside the roof, with perforations for the sound to pass through. Image credit: Foster+Partners The Steve Jobs Theater is a stunning building with many surprises, including the natural sound-absorbing qualities of people, which Apple may complement with temporary acoustic absorption for small gatherings. The theater is a remarkable testament to innovation and engineering, and it remains to be seen what other surprises the building has in store.

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