Today marks the official opening of Apple’s new flagship location in downtown Chicago and the glassy riverfront is overrun with Apple and architecture fans alike. Designed by London-based Foster + Partners, the structure was essentially carved out of the side of the Pioneer Court office plaza at a cost of $27 million.
While the project doesn’t soar high into the air like one of Chicago’s famous skyscrapers, it does contain a number of interesting touches and clever detail. For example, the store’s curved glass walls work together with four columns to help support the building’s ultra-light carbon fiber roof panels.
The glass is comprised of thin sheets laminated together like “glass plywood” for structural support, Stefan Behling tells architecture critic Blair Kamin. The Chicago Tribune columnist declared the building an “understated gem” in a piece published this morning.
Design buffs aren’t the only ones to recognize the value of Apple’s design and location. Before the store was complete, investor Walton Street Capital purchased the property for $71.4 million as part of its $360 million acquisition of the neighboring Equitable Building office tower for $360 million, reported Crain’s Chicago Business. Fetching $3,571 per square foot, the deal was one of the priciest retail property sales in Chicago history.
Expected to accommodate 250 employees and an endless line of shoppers and curious onlookers, the new store at 401 N. Michigan is a worthy addition to Chicago’s riverfront and has been a popular talking point on the city’s many architectural boat tours since breaking ground in early 2016.
Here’s a year-long look back on the unique structure’s construction process:
- Chicago’s new Michigan Avenue Apple store ready for Friday opening [Curbed Chicago]
- Apple's new flagship store an understated gem on the Chicago River [Chicago Tribune]
- What's that new Apple store worth? [Curbed Chicago]