Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Apple Moves Down Michigan Avenue

I heard a few months ago that Apple would be shuttering its store on North Michigan Avenue...

[Google Street View]

...and heading south to a site next to the Chicago River:

[Google Street View]

Now some details on the move have been released by Blair Kamin and a colleague at the Chicago Tribune, who scooped some renderings of a glassy pavilion designed by Norman Foster that eats up part of Pioneer Court, the plaza in front of the Equitable Building.

[Looking south across the plaza]

Like other high-profile Apple stores that have been built since the first Chicago store in 2003, the proposed store takes up two floors, with a glass box popping above the plaza to serve as an entrance. Just think of the cube in New York, the cylinder in Shanghai, and the Foster-designed store in Istanbul.

[Aerial rendering]

Yet the most remarkable thing about the design is the way it addresses the river. This is not a store buried under a plaza; it is one that visually opens itself to the riverfront promenade and water beyond through glass walls. This makes the section of the store a bit more complex while putting its insides on display. More importantly, this emphasizes the importance of the river in the age of Rahm Emanuel (downstream to the west are two phases of the Riverwalk designed by Carol Ross Barney, with one more on the way).

[Looking north across the Chicago River]

Although the renderings barely hint at what is going on inside the store, it's clear that the super-thin roof is one of the most important design elements, a solid yin to the yang of the super-clear glass walls, what have become a Foster staple, from his addition to the SC Johnson campus to the "spaceship" being built for Apple in Cupertino, California.

[Looking east at promenade level]