Flaws in design of Apple’s Michigan Avenue store in Chicago might make it tough to sell

“The new Apple store in Chicago could get a new landlord,” Lewis Lazare reports for The Chicago Business Journal. “That is if Walton Street Capital — the Chicago-based private equity firm that purchased the structure just days before the store opened to the public on Oct. 20 — can find someone to take the building off their hands.”

“The new Apple outpost, carved out of a subterranean space along the Chicago River adjacent to North Michigan Avenue, initially was widely praised for being a flashy piece of architecture,” Lazare reports. “But the mostly-glass structure was quickly revealed to be something less than the perfect building in which to do business in Chicago. Birds flying near the river soon became a problem as they crashed into the Apple store’s soaring all-glass facade and plunged to their deaths.”

“The glass facade has other problems. One giant piece of the store’s glass wall was hidden behind scaffolding last week after large cracks appeared. Asked about what might have caused the cracks, a store staffer last week said the cause had not been determined,” Lazare reports. “In his first review of the Apple store in October, Chicago Tribune’s Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Blair Kamin called the building a ‘thrillingly transparent, elegantly understated’ piece of work. By December, however, Kamin was forced to address reports that giant icicles were dangling dangerously from the building’s roof once colder weather hit. And observers, looking with common sense at what was happening, began to suggest that the building was poorly conceived for the city in which it sits.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Like many of Apple’s recent post-Steve Jobs works, Apple’s Michigan Avenue don’t-call-it-a-store Retail Store, is elegant, understated, and peppered with not insignificant flaws.

Suggestion for Apple: Return to thinking things all the way through and sweating even the tiniest details. That’s what we pay you for.MacDailyNews, December 29, 2017

‘Most ambitious’ Apple Retail Store put up for sale by Chicago landlord – March 20, 2018
Apple’s Michigan Avenue retail store has a major design flaw – December 29, 2017
Apple will make changes to their Chicago bird-killing machine – October 30, 2017


  1. “Suggestion for Apple: Return to thinking things all the way through and sweating even the tiniest details.”

    And by “tiniest details” we DON’T mean some Jony Ive industrial design wankfest where the precise grain and colour of wood on the display table is determined through careful selection of timber from some special forest. PRACTICAL stuff.

    1. Mr. Jobs was Capt Wank Himself? Steve had a penchant for not so “practical stuff,” and when it comes to design, what appears to be wanki can be consistent with good design…sweating the tiniest of details.
      Just one of Steve’s not-so-practical mandates; the wires INSIDE the earliest iMac were to be placed in a consistent color pattern. The pattern had nothing to do with practical function but represented Steve’s belief and that of many other designers, that good design doesn’t exist merely on the surface.
      Also, did you know that Steve mandated that the stone floors in all retail locations came from one quarry in Italy? Yes, because he thought the “color and pattern (grain)” was most fitting.
      I’ll guess you are more of a left-brain kind of thinker?

      1. You missed the point. Apple has recently focused too much on exactly those kinds of details and ignoring the functional stuff, sometimes blatantly so (the face-palming 1+1+1 = 12 calculator bug in early iOS 11 betas and releases, for example).

        Go ahead and spend lots of time on the aesthetic stuff (and I’m of course not saying they shouldn’t), but it must at its core also be functional and practical. If humans are running into glass walls at the new Apple HQ, what hope do birds have?

  2. Baloney, bunch of spinners & whiners. By that logic, there are hundreds of snow resorts with massive design flaws because giant icicles hang fron the roof edges, threatening to impale the next passerby.

  3. I remember reading that it cost Apple $450,000 to repair the glass on the 5th Ave store Designed by Jobs. I wish he would have spent more time thinking through the details.

  4. from what i understand the lease is in place, landlord changes but Apple still has the store rented, so why would the new landlord care about the design? Apple isn’t going to move.

    i have criticized Apple on lack of focus like with the Mac Pro etc but the flaws of the store are minor. Apple has already explained the icicles were due to the roof heaters not working which was fixed.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.