The Reason behind the Design of Apple's New Circular Campus
Image via The City of Cupertino.
This makes an interesting case study on designing an effective environment for innovation.
Apple is a functional organization. Unlike almost every other large company it’s not organized in “divisions” which have responsibility for “a business” in the sense of profit or loss. At Apple most people or teams are assigned a function like “design”, “engineering”, “sales” etc. When a product is being built, they are assigned to that effort. When the product is complete, they go to another product.
Seen from this perspective, the architecture of their proposed campus makes perfect sense. If it was a divisional structure then each division could live in its own building or campus. In fact, each division would not have much to talk about to any other division. But as a functional organization Apple needs to move people quickly between projects. It needs to re-configure itself frequently. Being in the same building means they can do this much more efficiently.
This is why there needs to be one building and this is why the shape chosen is probably optimal: each point within can be reached with minimal routing. The fact that it’s aesthetically pleasing is a coincidence.