Apple recently confirmed that a replacement store in Palo Alto, Calif., Apple's home turf, will feature the touted "landmark" vaulted glass roof design of the Upper West Side, Manhattan store opened in November.
According to the ifoAppleStore blog, the new store will double the square-footage of the existing store. It is expected to open in fall 2012.
Bessette’s confirmation of the store is remarkable, since the company has only ever confirmed a handful of new stores before construction was begun. Traditionally, new stores are not confirmed by a Web posting until five days before they open.
In a recent story about the Upper West Side store in The Architect's Newspaper, James Russell called the store a "splendid oddity amid the retail recession."
According to Karl Backus, the principal-in-charge at architects Bohlin Cywinski Jackson who designed this and the two other significant Manhattan stores, Apple prefers to build one large selling room in order to “present the entire interior to the street.” The mullion-free glass walls ascend 40 feet high to meet the gently vaulted all-glass roof with an almost invisible joint. “That openness is the invitation,” Backus added.
The all-glass roof is an exercise in bravura minimalism, engineered by James O’Callaghan, of London-based Eckersley O’Callaghan. He mounted fritted, insulating- glass panels on thin metal purlins that incorporate lighting, and (invisibly) sprinklers and security systems. Elegant trusses cross under, with tension cables picked out in machined stainless steel. All that glass bathes the room in sunlight. Shadows move slowly across the uninterrupted expanses of marble. The room feels as diaphanous as a bubble.
The current crop of Apple Stores are known for their open feeling and this new design carries that concept forward. During this holiday shopping season, I visited perhaps five stores and found them packed, day and into the evening. I look forward to seeing the West Side Store in action in visit this winter.