Behold! The unveiling of Apple's next product... the iBuilding. Okay, so it's not a product, but it is their highly-anticipated new campus in Cupertino, California. Steve Jobs, wearing his trademark mock turtleneck and jeans, revealed the plans—with fancy, although somewhat grainy renderings—at yesterday's Cupertino City Council meeting (watch the video after the jump). According to several reports, the architect of the new complex, whose land Apple bought from Hewlett Packard, will be Norman Foster, but that hasn't been formally announced. A few highlights of the new design: Apple's new HQ is shaped like a doughnut, a spaceship, or an iPod trackwheel. It's clad in curved glass with a giant courtyard in the middle. While Apple plans to increase it's employees from 9,500 to 13,000, it will reduce its surface parking by 90% (from 9,800 to 1,200) and most of the parking will be underground. The vast majority of campus is set aside for landscaping (with an estimated 6,000 trees). According to Jobs, the building will generate its own clean energy using the grid as backup. Given how the council treated Jobs like a visiting god, it looks like the company should get the project passed. If it moves forward, the new campus is expected to be complete by 2015.
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Apple takes another bite. Once famous for its oysters, Grand Central will now be known for its Apples. Cult of Mac reports that the computer giant plans to open their biggest retail outlet yet, which will, no doubt be as busy as Grand Central Station. High speed posturing. If you don't want it, we'll take it! That's the message being sent out by Democratic governors to their Republican counterparts who are rejecting infrastructure dollars. Huff-Po's Sam Stein notes that governors from New York, Washington, and California are lining up to take Florida Governor Rick Scott's rejected $2 billion in federal funding for high speed rail line. Goal! One more hurdle to go. DNA reports that Columbia's Baker Field got the green light from the City Planning Commission to build the Steven Holl designed Campbell Sports Center. Part of the plan includes a James Corner/Field Operations-designed park and 17,000 square feet of restored marsh and shoreline. Pool Hall Banking. A 1916 bank building on Philadelphia's Chestnut Street will take on an adaptive reuse that its architect Horace Trumbauer surely never dreamed of. PlanPhilly reports that developer Paul Giegerich is thinking of turning the architect's two story cathedral of commerce into a swanky pool hall with food created by a star (Steven Starr to be exact).
So it turns out they've finally approved designs for the Apple Store in Georgetown. As we speculated, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson came up with a perfectly appropriate glassy-historicist design, as they already have in places like Soho and Boston. The thing is, after a year-and-a-half of deliberating over designs for the project, and rejecting four previous proposals, what the Old Georgetown Board approved looks suspiciously like what was presented 18 months ago. It's basically the same as the previous proposal from February, except that columns were added to the entryway to make it not quite so glassy. And we thought New York was bad. (h/t ArchNewsNow)
While it is relatively old news that Apple (and ur-designers BCJ's) efforts to build a new Apple Store in Georgetown are being foiled by a group of local preservationists--I first stumbled upon it on Apple Insider while reading reports from MacWorld--it was a Bloomberg report in today's ArchNewsNow (h/t) that really got me thinking about the reality of such a store and just how it might take shape. When I read that "Apple’s architects, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, proposed building a store with an all-glass front at street level, topped by a slab of masonry with an Apple logo cut through it," I was rather surprised by the proposal. After all, one need look no further than Apple's three Manhattan stores to see a thorough going commitment to historic preservation and adaptive reuse. Apple's first, and most sensitive, venture in the city was the 2002 conversion (as always, by BCJ) of a sumptuous 1920s post-office in perhaps our most chicly historic neighborhood into an intensely sleek and yet extremely demure flagship. Despite all the straight lines and polished glass inside, the exterior of Apple Soho remains almost untouched, a respectful gesture to the cast iron beauties that surround it. While its--much ballyhooed--24-hour sibling on 5th Avenue has a decidedly more modern look, so does its surroundings, at the foot of the GM Building. Not to mention that, as MAS president Kent Barwick once told us, the new store resurrected an otherwise insufferable plaza. And while slightly more ostentatious than the Soho store (and really, isn't the entire Meatpacking District?), Apple's latest store on 14th Street still manages to adeptly combine a classic concrete loft building with a glassy electronics outlet. Why, then, would Apple make such a radical proposal for such a buttoned up community as Georgetown? Again, the Bloomberg article provides some interesting clues:
It’s not the first time Cupertino, California-based Apple was asked to revamp the design of one of its stores. Three years ago, a Boston architectural commission reviewing the glass façade that Apple proposed for a local store said the design “didn’t have a sense of place” in the neighborhood. Apple amended the design and worked with the Boston Redevelopment Authority to make sure the store--noteworthy for a giant wall of glass--fit in with the area. The Boston shop opened last year.You can see the Boston store here, in The Wall Street Journal's brief account of the Apple Georgetown affair. Just looking at it, the Boston store is a far more modern proposal than its historical cousins in New York. Back in Georgetown, the local board that has so far denied the designs is obviously not opposed to a store being located on the premises. Not only is that section of Wisconsin Avenue essentially an outdoor mall, but the building was previously occupied by a French Connection boutique. The only explanation, then, is the old preservationist saw that the developer and architect have put forward an outlandish proposal they have no intention of actually building so that when the actual design comes up for review, it looks rosy by comparison. Now where have we heard that before?