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Foster + Partner’s new Michigan Avenue Apple store ready for Friday grand opening

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Flanked by a pair of granite staircases, the glassy structure will offer uninterrupted river views


After a year-and-a-half of construction, Apple’s new flagship store along the Chicago River is just about ready to welcome its first shoppers. Designed by London-based Foster + Partners, the low, glass-walled structure steps down—quite literally—from Michigan Avenue’s Pioneer Court office plaza to address the riverfront.

While some have interpreted the building’s low, broad eaves as a modern-day throw-back to the Prairie School of architectural design, others have commented that its roofline is more reminiscent of its Macbook line of laptop computers than anything by Frank Lloyd Wright or his contemporaries.

Regardless of design influences or subliminal advertising, the final result is impressive with its lightweight carbon fibre roof appearing to float above four narrow pillars. The glass-heavy design is airy, wing-like, and decidedly Foster in its execution.


“When Apple opened on North Michigan Avenue in 2003, it was our first flagship store and now we are back in Chicago opening the first in a new generation of Apple’s most significant worldwide retail locations,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail, via official online statement.

To celebrate the grand opening, Apple Michigan Avenue will host a month-long set of events known as “The Chicago Series.” Programming focuses on a number of creative fields including photography, music, coding, and app design.

Expected to accommodate 250 employees, the new flagship store opens Friday, October 20, at 5:00 p.m. It replaces the now-closed Apple location several blocks north at 679 N. Michigan Avenue.