Extensive look at Apple’s upcoming glass-encased Boston flagship store

“When Apple’s new boston flagship store opens its doors at 815 Boylston Street later this year, expect mania. Apple devotees, known for their fierce brand loyalty, approach store openings with the fervor of rock groupies. When a San Francisco flagship store opened in 2004, there were 1,200 people in line, many of whom had camped overnight. Last year, thousands attended the opening of New York’s Fifth Avenue store, where the company’s iconic logo was seen painted on women’s cheeks and shaved into the back of one boy’s head,” Rachel Strutt reports for The Boston Globe.

“When this big Apple circus arrives in the staid Back Bay (the store could open by December), the people streaming in will see up close just how big a role a building can play in enhancing a brand,” Strutt reports.

Strutt reports, “With its glass facade and crisp, staunchly minimalist features, the three-story building will turn heads, especially when it is aglow at night, a luminous boxy beacon of modernity and commerce. In the center of the building, a glass staircase – an engineering feat in itself and a trademark of the flagship stores – will spiral beneath a large skylight.”

“After browsing products on the first floor, customers can ascend the seductive glass staircase to the second floor – where they can peruse more gadgetry and may be able to attend demonstrations on a variety of subjects. The third floor could offer free retail services, including a “Genius Bar,” where an expert would be on hand to help solve tech problems,” Strutt reports.

“Like an iPod, iBook, or the recently unveiled iPhone, the 21,350-square-foot store itself – it’s hard to resist calling it an iBuilding – will be all about innovation, streamlined design, and easy navigation, from the overall layout to the most minute detail,” Strutt reports. “An eco-friendly roof will be blanketed with hardy vegetation designed to insulate the building in winter and keep it cool in summer. The building’s facade will consist of a series of glass panels that will stand 7 to 8 feet in front of its basic structure, a grid of two horizontal slabs intersected by two columns, all finished with matte stainless steel. The panels will feature low-iron laminated glass, which appears more lucent and doesn’t exhibit the faint blue or green hue of regular glass.”

Full article with much, much more here.

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


  1. It doesn’t appear that the store would appeal to those who demand that all businesses adopt exterior designs that blend with the historical, cultural, and architectural milieu of ancient Boston. How Apple got the zoning commission to agree to this design is beyond me.

  2. Well, for once, the Apple building is pretty simmilar in form and scale to its neighbors. Also, the building is inviting –simple and open, yet interesting. The building’s visual attraction is generated by the juxtaposition of the structural concrete frame openings with its glass envelope. Here, the glass acts as a veil; a transparent, highly articulated pattern of clear glass skin that complements the building openings behind.

    Rather than showcasing a metal box like the San francisco store; in Boston, the pattern of openings, which are created by the columns and floor lines, the resulting pattern is not only more interesting and inviting, but also relate to its neighbors better, maintaining the visual rhythm of window openings along the street front.

    Thus, while the architectural form of the store is very simple, the sophistication, transparency, and articulation of the building envelope grabs your attention and draws you in. I can’t wait to visit.

    Good job Apple.

  3. Mark Maloney, who stepped down as Boston Redevelopment Authority director last month, says: “This building is going to have a wow factor. People will come to see this bright, shiny jewel box within a traditional neighborhood.”

    This is the true WOW of Apple, in everything they do. Not some other company’s poor copy of a wow!

  4. Of course, the 11-foot tall glowing Apple icon was a dead giveaway that the building was, in reality, an Apple store. All that other stuff that you mentioned didn’t hide the fact that the store was practically indistinguishable from the rest of the structures on the block.

  5. @cptnkirk

    Excellent post. Always good to see a poster who provides references.

    WOW is right.

    Another reason why Bill Gates is so upset with Apple? Store envy?

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