Ten days ago, Apple opened its new flagship store in Chicago on North Michigan Avenue overlooking the Chicago River. The store is highlighted by its 111 x 98 ft carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) roof. The roof is believed to have been manufactured by Dubai-based Premier Composite Technologies (PCT) – the same firm who produced Apple’s CFRP roof for its “theater” building at its new California campus. Foster + Partners handled the design of the Chicago store.
“We fundamentally believe in great urban life, creating new gathering places, and connecting people in an analog way within an increasingly digital world,” says Stefan Behling, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners. “The design of Apple Michigan Avenue embodies this in its structure and materiality with a glass wall that dissolves into the background, revealing the only visible element of the building – its floating carbon fiber roof.”
According to Foster + Partners, the roof has a max depth of 3’-4”. Apple says the roof was designed to be as thin as possible. Aesthetically, the thin roof cover makes the store resemble a giant MacBook. The entire structure is supported by four interior pillars that allow the 32-foot glass facades to remain unobscured.
“Apple Michigan Avenue is about removing boundaries between inside and outside, reviving important urban connections within the city,” says Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer. “It unites a historic city plaza that had been cut off from the water, giving Chicago a dynamic new arena that flows effortlessly down to the river.”
The store will include “The Chicago Series,” a set of five programs, each with a different area of focus at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, hosted over the course of the next month. Each program is co-created with local non-profits and creative organizations.