Portland’s Historic Landmarks Commission gives icy reception to planned Apple Retail Store

“Plans for a sleek-looking Apple Computer store in a Northwest Portland historic district received an icy reception on Monday from the city’s Historic Landmarks Commission, whose chairman criticized it as ‘franchise architecture.’ A two-hour hearing over the proposed two-story glass and limestone box at 423 N.W. 23rd Ave. ended without a formal vote when the building’s architect asked to come back at a July 10 meeting,” Fred Leeson reports for The Oregonian. “It wasn’t immediately clear whether Jeff Stuhr, a Portland architect, plans to present revised plans or whether Apple will drop the project. The company does not comment on its retail store plans.”

“Since an advisory meeting with the commission last August, Stuhr added more windows to the design and changed the exterior skin from stainless steel to limestone. Two commission members appeared to reject the whole scheme, while others on the six-member panel suggested more windows and awnings.Apple has opened approximately 130 retail stores around the world in recent years, almost all reflecting modernistic boxy designs with illuminated white Apple signs fitting flush to the exteriors,” Leeson reports. “The proposed Northwest Portland store sits in the Alphabet Historic District of Northwest Portland. It would replace a 1960s-era building that is not considered historic.”

“If Apple decides to press on with the same or a similar modernistic design, a rejection by the landmarks commission could be appealed to the City Council,” Leeson reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan” for the heads up.]

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Related article:
Five foot tall Apple logo sign could be issue for Apple Retail Store in Portland, Oregon – April 13, 2006


  1. I live in Portland, OR – grew up here.

    Portland is among the least business-friendly cities in the country.

    Look at these people “It doesn’t look right, put more glass on the building, bla, bla, bla.”

    It’s a 1960’s building and that is historic? Please, it was a lame wedding shop, with nothing great about it at all.

    Bottom Line: City counsil members, planners, they all live in their fantasy world and screw things up for the rest of us. They are liberal morons who are “above the fray” as it were. Animal Farm alive and well in 2006!

    This would bring how much business to that district? A ton more that’s what, but again, they could care less on this high pirches.

  2. New construction in historic districts is a tough issue to address well and most local boards do a poor job. On one hand you’ve got folks that want every new building to look just like a truly historic buiding next door. But that only mocks what is actually historic. Then you’ve got the “I should be able to build anything anywhere” folks that don’t get how something new can really disturb a fine balance.

    The trick is new construction that represents the current time in materials and techniques but that does so in a respectful way. In a commercial district this may mean more glass area to seem more open like adjacent commercial buildings. It may mean having a bit more detailing and to actually have some depth. Historic buildings typically have both detail and recesses that create interesting shadow lines whereas new buidings, including Apple’s handsome facade, is harshly flat and lacking in detail.

    I think if Apple’s architects really worked hard they could come up with a stunning modern box that also had depth and created pleasing shadows.

  3. You’ve got to love The Communist Republic of Oregon.

    Can you even pump your own gasoline there yet? Used to be a state requirement that gas stations had attendents to pump your gas.

    Oregon is very unfriendly to businesses (and non-residents).

  4. Gay Portland?
    apple Just promise to make the front facade black leather and chrome studs with a pink boa around the door and Portland people will gayly accept the store.
    And make sure there is a back door entry….

  5. Living here in the People’s Republic of Portland is comical. What we’re talking about here is a district locally known as “The Pearl”. I doubt there’s a building there that’s 100 years old. But the cities we’re trying to emulate have historic districts, so by God we’re going to have one too. We even hired our city planner away from Berkeley, CA, just so we could be sure we’re doing things correctly.

    After years in San Francisco, it’s comical to listen to the locals here expound on their “world-class” city. They think it’s on a par with San Francisco or Paris, when what we’re really talking about is Fresno with crummy weather.

    Put the new store in Clackamas Town Center in SE Portland, where the new growth is. Forget The Pearl. It’s just a collection of 60’s buildings inhabited by stuck in the 60’s, ponytailed, malcontents.

  6. I live in a town also in the Pacific Northwest, and we are in man similar battles. Lets face it – buildings built at the turn of the century and up to the 30’s had character. Anything afer WWII was in the Jetson age of fast, cheap, convienient, modern – Many of the building of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s don’t stand the test of time, In fact they are the ones being torn down because the are simply ugly and not practical to restore.
    Apple should “Think Different” about architecture as they do everything else. They have shown that they can do that, look at the London Store. The New York Store, OK that fits there. C’mon be creative, Apple. Don’t fall into the Brick and mortar retail mode. Like Lowes, Walmart, Barnes and Noble.
    While these designs may work in Southern California, or a mall in ‘anytown’ USA, They don’t work in the Pacific Northwest… They are simply out of place. Do what you like on the inside, But blend into the environment on the outside. No flat roofs! It rains to much up here!

  7. ummmm: “Bruce, you’re a fucking biggot. Idiot.”

    ummmm, I love it when you talk dirty to me. Meet at the “Whips and Chains Bar and Bath” club okay? Bring your iProd like you had last night.

  8. West of I-405? Good grief! That’s more like “falling down” than “historic”! Reminds me of downtown Oakland…to borrow from Gertrude Stein, there’s no “THERE” there.

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