CFAH

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Having admitted “we weren’t necessarily focused on that side” with respect to how the proposed Union Square Apple store would affect the existing Grand Hyatt Plaza and Ruth Asawa fountain on the site, Mayor Ed Lee has said he’ll now go visit the site in person to see whether the design he already deemed “quite simply incredible” might actually fit in.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by AnonInLincolnPark

    If the Mayor wants to know what the building will look like, a slightly smaller version of the design already exists in Chicago on North Avenue with the same “wall” to the side street which is actually a very busy boulevard (Halstead).
    The Chicago “flagship” Apple store on Michigan Avenue also repeats the McApple design by having a large logo sitting above a glass curtain wall and a completely blank side street wall without any landscaping or windows. Does Apple have something against side streets? The restaurant located across from the Apple store now has a nice view of a grey wall.

  2. Posted by Mark

    Yet somehow the designs get approved by cities so the blame isn’t all on Apple.

  3. Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

    Politicians don’t think in 3D.

  4. Posted by sf

    These Apple Store designs are so boring! They were cool 10 years ago when the first few were built, but, as typical of great architecture, they have been overbuilt and have now become routine. I guess that is the nature of capitalism and marketing, to establish a familiar look and logo, but it does not bode well for an urbane environment.

  5. Posted by wc1

    If you take out the ones in shopping centers, there is a huge variety in design.

  6. Posted by Mark

    First, can’t the bronze fountain be moved?
    Second, if Apple had it’s design act together it could incorporate its familiar logo/design within the surroundings in this particular case.

  7. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    BTW the apple store on Michigan Ave does have landscaping in front and on the sides, as well as some merchandise windows (not great I know but it’s something).
    Additionally, the permit was only approved after Mayor Daley insisted Apple install a green roof as a condition of allowing some zoning variances.

  8. Posted by Rob

    Let’s all get stuck on personal opinions of aesthetic. Let’s slow down development some more for hotel plazas and fountains.

  9. Posted by AnonInLincolnPark

    @Badlydrawnbear..Did not know about the green roof which is awesome. The landscaping in front of the store and on the side street was pre-existing planters from the City of Chicago. You are correct, the city did require them to place some small merchandise windows in the side facade to break it up.
    The North Avenue Store is the most disturbing example of presenting a blank wall to a busy boulevard however…
    (P.S.-keeping my property in San Francisco (and leasing it out) has turned out to be a FAR better investment for my family than my property here in Chicago)

  10. Posted by david m

    the mayor is so uncool. “quite simply incredible”? it’s so mediocre and it kills the square and steps, and creates a blank wall along stockton.

  11. Posted by sjg

    The Apple stores’ exteriors (not all, but most) look to me like bank exteriors. You could just as easily exchange a Chase logo for the Apple logo. I really have never understood the drooling over these stores.

  12. Posted by wc1

    @David m
    When was the last time you sat on those steps?
    I walk by daily and almost never see anyone sitting in that area. For one thing it’s very windy and cold.
    I’m not saying that the Apple design is perfect and shouldn’t be improved, but saving the steps and fountain at all costs as if they are some special local landmark is silly.

  13. Posted by Rob

    David… the plaza is no different than a wall already… the space is completely underutilized. I don’t think there’s much concern for trying to get people up Stockton on foot, unfortunately. I love that tunnel and wish there was more reason to wander through it.

  14. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    @AnonInLincolnPark Correct, the city was responsible for the landscaping. But kudos to Chicago for it’s aggressive ‘greening’ policy for the last 20 some years. It has really paid off.
    I was riding the Brown Line recently and was amazed to see trees towering over the EL car in several area, which was already 2 stories above the street.
    It’s nice to see the city and FURF taking a cue from Chicago (and other cities) and adding heat island reducing, carbon sucking, trees where ever they can.
    Hopefully SF will take a similar cue and wring some concessions out of Apple like set backs to create green public space like this one (again in Chicago).

  15. Posted by EH

    Mayor Ed Lee has said he’ll now go visit the site in person to see whether the design he already deemed “quite simply incredible” might actually fit in.
    Looking forward to the Chronicle’s “Mayor Visits City” headline.

  16. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    @EH +1 Karma

  17. Posted by BillyBalls

    Apparently, many of our commenters don’t know a token political answer when they hear one.
    They’ll just end up with some glass along stockton.
    Have a hot dog ed. Its the cart that needs saving, not the plaza.

  18. Posted by futurist

    The mayor should stick to issues that make this city safer, cleaner, and create MUCH better public transit.
    He really has no business commenting on architecture or private development of any kind.
    So, when is his term up?

  19. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    Two words – “formula retail”
    Apple is so mainstream these days. A real hipster should differentiate himself from wannabe hipster by emphasizing their “not iPhone” and “not Apple” choices.

  20. Posted by wc1

    Hipsters are only nonconformist in their own minds.

  21. Posted by philipthemholes

    When Lee is done giving handouts to China and Apple, maybe he can work on improving the city? Anyone ridden muni lately? Been near the TL?

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