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Carbon fiber roof appears to float

Out There | October 23, 2017 | By:

The Steve Jobs theater lobby is covered by the largest, self supporting fully carbon fiber roof in the world. Photo: © Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

A lens-shaped carbon fiber roof weighing 80.7 tons seems to float above the lobby of the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park in Cupertino, Calif. The project was a partnership between international architecture and design firm Foster and Partners, headquartered in London, and Apple Inc.

The lobby is reported to be the largest glass-supported structure in the world. It is topped by what is called the largest self-supporting carbon fiber roof in the world, with a diameter of 135 feet. During construction, the roof panels were assembled on site then lifted into place as a single unit.

The lobby’s glass cylinder construction is made up of 44 radial panels. The service elements of the building, such as the sprinkler pipes, power systems and security features, are integrated into the silicon joints between the glass panels. The building was designed to withstand an earthquake up to a magnitude eight.

“The idea is very simple: a delicate hovering roof providing shelter in the middle of a beautiful Californian landscape,” said Stefan Behling, senior executive partner at Foster + Partners. Making it feel effortless was among the hardest technical and engineering challenges we’ve ever had to solve.”


The sprinklers, electric, and security features are concealed within the 44 silicon joints between the glass panels.Photo: © Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

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