Apple’s new store in Chicago is less than original, but still upgrades cityscape

“The tightly controlled Apple publicity machine isn’t making much of the fact that the company’s new store in Chicago’s Clybourn corridor (left) looks an awful lot like another Apple store in, of all places, an outdoor shopping center in Scottsdale, Arizona,” Blair Kamin writes for The Chicago Tribune.

“On the face of it, importing a cookie-cutter design from that architectural nowhere to Chicago, the first city of American architecture, is an insult, particularly because Apple last year opened a custom-designed store, complete with an elegant glass roof, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side,” Kamin writes. “But some prototype designs are better than others, and while this one, which made its debut Saturday, has minuses, it is hard to argue with the outcome: a sleek, minimalist object, bracingly transparent, that also delivers a major upgrade to the cityscape.”

Kamin writes, “The changes, which cost Apple nearly $4 million, do more than compensate for the store’s lack of aesthetic originality… Designed by Wilkes Barre, Pa.-based Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, whose credits include the famous glass cube atop Apple’s underground Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan (above) and the luminous, two-level Apple outlet at 679 N. Michigan Ave., the new model occupies a more modest rung in the Apple hierarchy — not quite a flagship, but more architecturally ambitious than a typical mall store… Its long sides consist of monolithic walls sheathed in stainless steel panels (left), while the short sides are wrapped in enormous panes of frameless, floor-to-ceiling glass. But to their credit, the architects tweaked the prototype, most notably by giving the Chicago store three entrances instead of Scottsdale’s one.”

Kamin writes, “The result is an attractively austere, though not off-putting, temple of computing, a modernist pavilion whose openness simultaneously extends an invitation to the passerby and advertises the entire contents of the one-level store. It’s a simple, strong form, more architecturally coherent than its limestone-faced Michigan Avenue counterpart, though it is by no means perfect.”

Much more, including photos of the Chicago and Scottsdale building, in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve always loved Apple Store, Scottsdale Quarter. It looks just as impressive in Chicago.

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

23 Comments

    1. I thought I recognized this as an old article from last year. MDN goofed up. I remember when this store opened last Fall. I like it’s look, but this is one chronologically challenged post MDN.

  1. So now everyone wants a custom-designed, architectural masterpiece? And, yet, Best Buy and Walmart establish duplicate box stores by the hundreds and few complain. It’s tough to be Apple…the bar of expectations is extremely high.

  2. “But next time around, Steve Jobs, try giving Chicago the original it deserves.”

    Brainless drivel and whining from the Blair Bitch Project. What Chicago deserves is jack, as in jack shit. Those morons have repeatedly elected the most vile and corrupt politicians this side of New York City. Let ’em have Microsoft Stores; that’s all they deserve.

      1. Not so fast Tom…

        Chicago is the only city in the US that allows human sewage waste pumped directly into it’s rivers. So it’s impossible to be a politician from there, and not be totally full of crap.

        Hopefully you’ve learned an important lesson about standing up for politicians. That duty is exclusively reserved for biologists in dung beetle studies.

          1. Clue? Not needed here. Poop still going into Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Big Tunnel won’t be done until 2029, started in the 70’s and they’ve (Chicago politicians) have spent $3 billion dollars so far.

            60 years, plus how many more billions to build some septic tanks? Really? And Chicago politicians aren’t totally full of crap? That’s totally embarrassing and ties them in North America with Mexico for shit in the water. Are they over inflating/paying unions or building working plumbing… wait I forget… oh, so do you.

            Thanks for playing though, and I’m sorry that your favorite political hack is a failed poopsmith.

            1. You are such a dumb shit. Poop only goes into the Chicago river when the rain is so massive that the Deep Tunnel fills up. That happens at MOST once every few years. How can you be so dumb? When I grew up, the Chicago river was a festering toilet. Today, the Chicago River is BEAUTIFUL.

              Nothing like dumb fscks like you, spouting off on stuff you clearly know NOTHING about.

            2. Ah… a proud Chicago dweller. First it’s no sewage, then some sewage, then sewage only every couple years. Absolutely no sewage, yet they are still testing positive for it in both ‘da’ river and ‘da’ lake. I’m sure its a wonderful city, part covered swamp, part ticking time-bomb sewage facility and all those FANTASTIC politicians! BTW how long does it take anywhere else to build a waste treatment facility? 50 years? 40? 10? 5? 3? How about a working one, that doesn’t fail predictably and regularly? I’m sure once they get it done in another 20 years, the river will be even more BEAUTIFUL.

              Try again and please, try to lay off the wiki.

  3. Scottsdale (and greater Phoenix) is an “architectural nowhere”? Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West is only a few miles away. As are a number of other sites such as the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which is in Scottsdale. Chicago has a great architectural history. But this pea brain writer shouldn’t be knocking Scottsdale, which has its own architectural roots.

    1. +1 on the Scottsdale comment. With a caveat, much of the current architecture of Scottsdale and Phoenix is from the cookie cutter strip mall school of thought. But the area’s has some wonderful architectural history, including Frank Lloyd Wright.
      I shop at the Scottsdale Quarter Apple Store. I like the store, so what is Apple copied the design to their new (or not so new) Chicago store.

  4. Whine whine whine. At least that store looks impressive. Our Apple stores in Northeast Ohio are forgettable storefronts and mall stores, from the outside. Not every Apple store can be a mind-blowing architectural triumph.

    ——RM

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