Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Is this really Steve Jobs' new home?

September 30, 2010: 8:38 AM ET

Questions have been raised about some blueprints that surfaced earlier this week

Click to enlarge. Source: Woodside, Calif., Town Council

It wasn't quite on the level of its iPhone 4 prototype scoop last spring, but Gizmodo generated some nice buzz for itself Tuesday when it published what it claimed are the plans for Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs' new house.

"You knew Steve Jobs was tearing down his old mansion," the piece began. "You didn't know what he was building in its place. Until now."

That was good enough for CBS, ABC, the Huffington Post and a couple dozen more news outlets. The Seattle Times and Seattle Post Intelligencer both pointed out that Jobs had tapped the same architectural firm, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, that designed Microsoft (MSFT) chairman Bill Gates' mansion. Forbes noted that the same firm was behind the minimalist look of Apple's retail stores. In a story entitled "The Marxist Foundations of Steve Jobs' New House," Forbes' Brian Caufield traced the style's roots to Walter Gropius' Bauhaus school -- a piece that generated quite a bit of comment in the Gropius-inspired development in Lexington, Mass., where I grew up.

Almost lost in all the breathless commentary was a story in Housing Watch that declared the plans a "fake."

They were scanned, Housing Watch's Craig Bromberg points out, from the Woodside, Calif., June 2009 Town Council Agenda, and were, he claims, "for the sole use of estimating the environmental costs of various demolition alternatives" for the 17,250-square-foot Spanish colonial mansion Jobs is about to tear down.

Indeed, the drawings come from an "architectural and site review" that was originally submitted in January 2006, nearly five years ago.

Gizmodo editor Brian Lam declined to respond on the record to Bromberg, except to point out that the Gizmodo piece included this caveat:

"And while it's unclear how much of these plans will eventually be implemented, Jobs is expected to release another detailed plan to the town well before things get started."

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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