Photograph by Diana Walker/SJ/Contour by Getty Images

Steve Jobs's First-Choice Location for Apple, His Obsession with Stairs, Architecture: A Timeline

  1. Architecture Aficionado

    Architecture Aficionado

    Steve Jobs had a lifelong appreciation for architecture, similar to his appreciation for finely crafted technology products. In both cases, he was willing to spend whatever it took to get what he wanted—though his architectural pursuits were not always as profitable as his products.

    Photograph by Diana Walker/SJ/Contour by Getty Images
  2. 1982


    Two years after Apple (AAPL) went public in 1980, Jobs bought a penthouse apartment in the upscale San Remo building (pictured) on Manhattan’s Central Park West. While he never lived there, he paid to have the building's foundation reinforced to bear the weight of his extensive use of marble in a redecoration of the apartment by renowned architect I.M. Pei. He later sold the property to Bono, the U2 frontman.

    Photograph by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  3. 1983


    Jobs took a helicopter ride with the then-mayor of San Jose, Tom McEnery, over the Coyote Valley south of that city to scout out land for a new Apple campus tucked into the scrub oaks, McEnery told the San Jose Mercury News in 2011. Apple bought the land but never proceeded with the plan before Jobs’s ouster in 1985.

    Pictured, an aerial image of the location of the current 1 Infinite Loop Campus as it looked in October 1980.

    Photograph by Aerial Archives
  4. 1984


    Jobs bought the Jackling House (pictured), a 14-bedroom, Spanish-style mansion built in the 1920s in Woodside, Calif., that featured a built-in pipe organ. Jobs, then a bachelor, furnished it with little more than a mattress and a high-end audio system before departing in the early 1990s. He stopped maintaining it in 2000 amid a fight with preservationists about his plan to tear it down, which ultimately occurred shortly before his death in 2011.

    Courtesy Woodside History Committee
  5. 1989


    Jobs spent millions on a headquarters for his NeXT Computer in Redwood City, Calif., that featured a “floating staircase” made of wood and steel and $10,000 couches, plus millions more on a robot-packed factory so nice that he held dinners with customers on the shop floor. NeXT nearly went bankrupt before Apple bought it in 1997.

    (Corrects description of "floating staircase.")

    Photograph by Kristy MacDonald/AP Photo
  6. Early 1990s

    Early 1990s

    Jobs and his wife, Laurene, moved to an understated English country-style house in Palo Alto in the early 1990s, but Jobs obsessed over the furniture, recalls Kevin Rivette, a neighbor at the time. Jobs spent tens of thousands of dollars on chairs and a custom-made dining table—which he returned because the angle of one of the legs was off by a few degrees. Jobs frequently visited Rivette’s home during those years, often complaining about the lack of comfortable furniture in his house while sitting in Rivette’s aged Barcalounger. Amused but also slightly put off by Jobs’s hogging of his favorite chair, Rivette says he ordered one and had it delivered to Jobs's home.

    Photograph by Norbert von der Groeben/Reuters
  7. 1997


    Jobs returned full time to the company he loved a few months after Apple bought NeXT, but not to a building he loved. “He hated Infinite Loop,” says Ronette Riley, an architect who worked on the first Apple store. “He thought it looked like any other corporate campus across America.”

    Photograph by Tony Avelar/Bloomberg
  8. 2000


    Pixar moved into its new headquarters in Emeryville, Calif. Jobs didn’t stick his nose much into the moviemaking but was intimately involved in the design of the project. In many ways, the building is the philosophical opposite of the Apple “spaceship.” Jobs demanded that there be just one huge common area. He initially wanted a single set of bathrooms in the foyer to force as much mixing of employees as possible, but he gave in after those employees complained.

    Photograph by Proehl Studios/Corbis
  9. 2002


    Along with weekly meetings to manage the company and review particular products, Jobs led weekly meetings with the team charged with designing the retail stores that started appearing around the country in 2001. For the first Manhattan store, in SoHo, Jobs personally inspected marble for the floors to make sure the veining and color were right. After Ronnette Riley, an architect on the project, repeatedly expressed concerns about going over budget, former head of retail Ron Johnson took her aside and said, “We’re a cash-rich company; the budget isn’t that important.”

    Pictured, Jobs and the primary retail store architect Peter Bohlin at the Fifth Avenue store opening in New York in May 2006.

    Courtesy ifoapplestore
  10. 2010


    Jobs presented plans to replace the sprawling 30-room Jackling House with a minimalist, five-bedroom home designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. It never got built before Jobs's death, and the land has since been sold.

    Pictured, a private road that led to the Jackling House in February 2011.

    Photograph by Norbert von der Groeben/Reuters
  11. 2011


    In his final public appearance, Jobs presented his plans for Apple’s new “spaceship” headquarters to the Cupertino City Council.

    Courtesy Cupertino City Council