Very interesting interview, in which Foster deals with issues of scale, and how single large buildings are more efficient and provide better experiences than multiple smaller ones. In the case of Hong Kong airport I can wholeheartedly agree. I'd take that any day, over the sprawling terminals of, say, Dubai.
It's nice too to get an insight into how Steve Jobs' thinking directed the new design. Looks like Steve is, even now, building Apple in his own image.
Meanwhile, the reference point for Steve [Jobs] was always the large space on the Stanford campus—the Main Quad—which Steve knew intimately. Also, he would reminisce about the time when he was young, and California was still the fruit bowl of the United States. It was still orchards.
We did a continuous series of base planning studies. One idea which came out of it is that you can get high density by building around the perimeter of a site, as in the squares of London. And in the case of a London square, you create a mini-park in the center. So a series of organic segments in the early studies started to form enclosures, all of which were in turn related to the scale of the Stanford campus. These studies finally morphed into a circular building that would enclose the private space in the middle—essentially a park that would replicate the original California landscape, and parts of it would also recapture the orchards of the past. The car would visually be banished, and tarmac would be replaced by greenery, and car parks by jogging and bicycle trails.