Apple opens green-filled san francisco union square store by foster + partners
all images © nigel young / foster + partners
foster + partners continue to design the many apple stores around the world, all recognized by a similar aesthetic and character no matter the location. the most recent opening of ‘apple union square’ in san francisco marks a development of their store experience since their first opening 15 years ago. located on san francisco’s vibrant union square, the building’s vast glass sliding doors allow the store to connect the existing square to a new plaza to the north, creating seamless urban permeability. the design is the result of a close collaboration between apple’s teams led by jonathan ive, chief design officer and angela ahrendts, senior vice president of retail and online stores and foster + partners.
the apple union square store will be a model for future projects worldwide
the new site has been imagined as a tranquil garden of contemplation with tables and seating, creating a scenic gathering place for the community. the ruth asawa fountain, an important heritage feature in san francisco, has been given a new setting on the steps leading down to stockton street. a canopy of shading trees and a ‘green wall’ planted with creeping fig plants, bisected by a sheer waterfall at the western end of the plaza.
the ‘genius grove’ features a single planter that doubles as a comfortable place to sit and rest
characterized by their prominent use of glass throughout, the entire building is quietly supported by a giant steel truss structure that bridges over the neighboring hotel basement ballroom. in turn, this supports further trusses that create the tapered ceiling shape and integrate the network of services throughout the building. the extremely slim column-free floor structure is made possible by tuned mass dampers to eliminate vibration. the treads of the glass staircases on either side of the store are held in place by precisely engineered metal lozenge shaped ‘pucks’ that are discreetly embedded to give the impression of floating glass steps. the impression is of a floating stage in the center of the space in dialogue with union square, establishing a living room for the city.
the look of the tree planters was a collaboration between foster + partners and apple’s industrial design studio
taking advantage of san francisco’s moderate climate, the six meter steel framed glass sliding doors encourage natural ventilation throughout the store. fresh air is drawn through the integrated structural spine before being expelled out through the roof. the store is powered by 100 percent renewable energy, including power produced by 130 photo-voltaic panels integrated into the building’s roof.
the impression of the store is of a floating stage in the center of the space in dialogue with union square
the apple union square introduces five new features: ‘the avenue’ is a specially designed area for the display of accessories incorporated into the central spine wall. the ‘forum’, a new learning environment that will occupy a prime central position on the mezzanine against a vast video wall which will also act as an animated backdrop for union square beyond. to the rear of the forum is the ‘genius grove’ with a more relaxed setting among a small grove of trees, each within a single planter that doubles as a comfortable place to sit and rest. the unique design of the tree planters was a collaboration between foster + partners and apple’s industrial design studio. the ‘boardroom’ – a place for meetings, conversations and partnerships for local entrepreneurs and enterprises is discreetly placed behind the green wall.
the treads of the glass staircases are held in place by metal lozenge shaped ‘pucks’ that give the impression of floating glass steps
the ruth asawa fountain, an important heritage feature in san francisco, has been given a new setting on the steps leading down to stockton street
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