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$6.7M effort to replace Apple's iconic Fifth Ave glass cube underway

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
Apple is hard at work on replacing and improving its iconic glass cube entrance to its store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, a project that will cost the company nearly $6.7 million.

Numerous readers reached out to AppleInsider this week to note that the store on Fifth Avenue has been under construction for the last few days, and that the entrance has been closed off. Details on the project were revealed Thursday by Gary Allen of ifoAppleStore.com.

The project involves completely removing the glass cube entrance at the store, and then reinstalling it. Permits filed with New York's Department of Buildings show that the entire project will cost Apple $6,661,050, and that construction is expected to be completed by November.

"There is no indication of why the cube is being replaced, either because of safety concerns or simply to upgrade it to current technology," Allen wrote. "It's also not clear if the glass panels or the TriPyramid Structures Inc. hardware will be replaced with new, upgraded versions."

In addition to replacing the cube, Apple will also remove protective bollards, install new pavers around the perimeter, and remove and reinstall surrounding water drains.



Plywood walls were said to be erected around the glass cube Wednesday evening, and in the coming days scaffolding will be added to allow workers to access the 32-foot cube. The structure was originally completed in May of 2006, and that project cost Apple $7 million.

Apple's store at 767 Fifth Ave. is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and its giant glass cube entrance has become something of a landmark in New York City. It is the highest grossing store in the district by square foot, and has even been found to be one of the most photographed locations in the city.
post #2 of 43
It's all a prank by Micro$oft employees. It's going to look like a giant Xbox 360 tomorrow.
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post #3 of 43
Why does it need replacing, assume it's not all cracked and grungy.
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post #4 of 43
Steve is going to take it home to Woodside.
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post #5 of 43
My inside sources say they're going to replace it with a pyramid like at the Louvre.
post #6 of 43
Didn't Appleinsider or one of the rumor sites once report that Steve Jobs paid for the cube with his own money?

Maybe he is having the original cube prepared as his Tomb? He did look really frail at WWDC and the Cupertino council meeting. Not to mention the tone of those two meetings seem to be setting up his legacy.

#conspiracy

UPDATE: This is the article I was referring to: http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...ore_lease.html

and

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...lass_cube.html
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post #7 of 43
Maybe they are going to make it round like their new campus.
post #8 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph L View Post

I hope that they try to integrate it elegantly into the built environment. The current architecture is a "look at me" gimmick that sticks out rather than enhancing the rest of the streetscape.

It's a retail store!
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post #9 of 43
The pavers should sit atop hydraulic lifters that lift up to produce a spiral of seats to facilitate and organize line-ups.
post #10 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph L View Post

I hope that they try to integrate it elegantly into the built environment. The current architecture is a "look at me" gimmick that sticks out rather than enhancing the rest of the streetscape.

Well, yeah. Kinda the point.
post #11 of 43
I'm pretty sure it's to get rid of the fog that forms inside...
post #12 of 43
Jobs wants 32-foot glass cube following Apple store lease

By AppleInsider Staff
Published: 10:30 AM EST
The long-awaited deal for Apples sprawling subterranean store in the GM building was recently finalizedbut only after landlord Harry Macklowe promised Steve Jobs he could take his big $9 million glass cube with him at the end of the lease, reports New York Magazine.



According to the report, Jobs personally designed the 32-foot-by-32-foot hollow glass structure that will mark the stores entrance on the Fifth Avenue plaza. Over the past month, workers could be seen assembling the massive gemstone-esque structure, one narrow glass pane at a time.

Steve Jobs felt that he created the cube so he owned it, said Apple broker Robert Futterman, noting that Macklowe wanted it to stay put. At the eleventh hour, that was the biggest issue.

The report says that Macklowe aggressively wooed Jobs, flying out to California twice and offering the 24,000-square-foot retail space at well below market rent of $1,000 per square foot.

"At the end of the twenty-year lease, Jobs must replace the cube with a comparable structure before hauling it off."

The GM Building flagship Apple store is now slated to open next spring.


Rendering of 5th Ave. Apple retail store entrance.
post #13 of 43
I really liked the cube. I hope they will replace it with something similar stylish and catchy.
post #14 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph L View Post

I hope that they try to integrate it elegantly into the built environment. The current architecture is a "look at me" gimmick that sticks out rather than enhancing the rest of the streetscape.

Because glass facades in midtown Manhatten are unheard of? You have no clue about this, have you even been to Manhatten? Have you even considered how much a masonry structure on that site would overwhelm the next door building's lobby? Impinge on their light? How enormously popular this building is, amongst both tourists and New Yorkers? The awards it has won? The fact that it is the most photographed building in NYC?

post #15 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabbit_Coach View Post

I really liked the cube. I hope they will replace it with something similar stylish and catchy.

They're replacing it with a glass cube. Read the article, it explicitly says that they are taking it down and putting it back up again.
post #16 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by city View Post

It's a retail store!

Sorry, it is a NYC streetscape first. The cube is just across the street from Central Park too. Ever since the misguided razing of Penn Station, NYC has been hyper-aware of the importance of architecture and how it enhances the public experience. Apple has a responsibility to the community to make whatever they put there awesome. They are lucky to be here. Don't think so? Ask Wal-Mart who is doing everything they can, even unionizing, to get a spot in the Big Apple.

For what it is worth, I happen to like the cube and think it does fit in with its all glass, shiny, skyscraper aesthetic. Apple could have done better but it ain't bad.
post #17 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

They're replacing it with a glass cube. Read the article, it explicitly says that they are taking it down and putting it back up again.

Maybe they are replacing the cube walls with some sort of LED-embedded clear panels that can light up with colors and/or function as video displays.
post #18 of 43
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post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Porchland View Post

Maybe they are replacing the cube walls with some sort of LED-embedded clear panels that can light up with colors and/or function as video displays.

While I guess it's technically possible I would have though that would require additional permits which there's no evidence of. Also it would go completely against their design language. Apple stores are specifically intended to be low stimulus environments so that the products pop, even the big gestures like the glass cube are fundamentally minimal and understated.

Now if this was a Microsoft store I could totally see them turning the windows into a massive display.
post #20 of 43
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Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Reading comprehension, it's not just for highschool it's for life.

Can I borrow that?!
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post #21 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by electraluxx View Post

Apple has a responsibility to the community to make whatever they put there awesome.

1. It's more sculpture than architecture 2. You could always buy out the lease yourself if you don't like it.
post #22 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by electraluxx View Post

Sorry, it is a NYC streetscape first. The cube is just across the street from Central Park too. Ever since the misguided razing of Penn Station, NYC has been hyper-aware of the importance of architecture and how it enhances the public experience. Apple has a responsibility to the community to make whatever they put there awesome. They are lucky to be here. Don't think so? Ask Wal-Mart who is doing everything they can, even unionizing, to get a spot in the Big Apple.

For what it is worth, I happen to like the cube and think it does fit in with its all glass, shiny, skyscraper aesthetic. Apple could have done better but it ain't bad.

Guess you don't remember what this looked like before the glass cube. The retail was below grade and it was an uninviting, windswept area. In spite of its prime location, no retail there was ever successful. I think the cube is awesome and while it's very modern, it still works well across from the Plaza Hotel and Central Park.

Having said that, it's not that the plaza couldn't be further improved, but I think that's the landlord's responsibility, not Apple's. Personally, I think that plaza could use more plantings , trees, etc. and more seating area. I actually think the glass cube entrance would be better if it had been made larger and encompassed more of the plaza. Especially at night, I think the Lincoln Center store has more impact than the cube does.

While the razing of Penn Station did raise awareness of preserving classic architecture, I actually think it did nothing to raise awareness of quality architecture for new or renovated buildings. IMO, NYC has tons of simply awful architecture. I can't think of a single recently built building that could be considered great architecture. I'm a big fan of NYC, but most European cities have far nicer streetscapes than New York does.

And the Apple/Wal-Mart comparison makes no sense to me. Wal-Mart builds ugly large stores, pays badly (although Apple's retail pay isn't great either) and their presence puts lots of other retail out of business. They sell ordinary products that wouldn't attract tourists. Apple does the opposite.

I have no idea why it needs to be taken down and put up again. Maybe it's leaking. I also don't understand why taking it down and putting it up again costs as much as the original cube. The glass is extraordinarily expensive and if it's not being replaced, the costs shouldn't be so high.
post #23 of 43
I think they are replacing the glass with Ice Nine.
post #24 of 43
My brother works at this store. I live in Minneapolis, so I have yet to visit it. He loves it there.
post #25 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

It's all a prank by Micro$oft employees. It's going to look like a giant Xbox 360 tomorrow.

Well, at least they'll be guaranteed loads of people turning up!

However, once everyone sees the M$ logo - the large crowds are sure to disperse...
post #26 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post

I think they are replacing the glass with Ice Nine.

And Bokononism will be the new official Apple religion?
post #27 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

My inside sources say they're going to replace it with a pyramid like at the Louvre.

Just to be sure... You do realize that the Louvre pyramid was there before the Apple Store, right?
post #28 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by macslut View Post

Just to be sure... You do realize that the Louvre pyramid was there before the Apple Store, right?

Yes but think of the symbolism, an apple inside a pyramid - maybe the Discordians are uniting with the Illuminati. They've brought back the JAMs! Clearly I need to reread my Shea/Wilson novels to determine the significance of all this - but I fear that Apple may be preparing to immanentize the eschaton.

The world is supposed to be ending in October and the 5th avenue store will be under wraps until november - coincidence? I think not!



(Apologies in advance to everybody but the 3 people who get this joke)
post #29 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by electraluxx View Post

Apple has a responsibility to the community to make whatever they put there awesome.

Apple's first responsibility is to their shareholders. Spending millions of dollars on frivolous crap ignores that responsibility.

-kpluck

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post #30 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post

I think they are replacing the glass with Ice Nine.

So as it rains, the cube grows until it finally expands to the Atlantic and destroys the world. Nice.
post #31 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post

I think they are replacing the glass with Ice Nine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

And Bokononism will be the new official Apple religion?

missing KV
post #32 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"There is no indication of why the cube is being replaced, either because of safety concerns or simply to upgrade it to current technology,"

You wouldn't think there could be too many advances in architectural technology to warrant spending $6.6m to shuffle things around though, especially after such a short period of time. If they could find a way to make the sides seamless, that would be worth spending the money on.

Maybe given that they don't make a Cube computer, they will remodel it like the Mini so everyone has to get down on all fours to enter the store. Consumers must kneel before Apple, they are not worthy.

I find Steve's personal Cube design interesting - first the Next Cube, then the G4 Cube in 2000, 4 years after Apple bought Next, then a Cube store. It would be neat to have a 6"x6"x6" Cube - numbered like the original Mac price. If it was sold at the original Mac price too, even better - $666.66. Maybe when the 40th anniversary rolls around in 5 years they can make one.
post #33 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

You wouldn't think there could be too many advances in architectural technology to warrant spending $6.6m to shuffle things around though, especially after such a short period of time.

The time frame points to some sort of flaw that has only now come to light. Or a flaw that has developed from use. I gotta figure the whole structure is inspected frequently for cracks and wear. My bet is there is some concern internal to Apple or it's insurer that has spurred this redo.
post #34 of 43
The store's probably been something of a solar cooker during the hour or two that it is not shaded by all the other buildings around. In the past few years, enormous advances have been made in heat-reflective glazing that still transmits visible light. This, along with improved ventilation to eliminate fogging, could be the reason for the renovation.

And, one last thing, self-cleaning glass is now available. A very expensive coating of titanium dioxide is applied to the exterior face of each pane. Pollution and mineral deposits break down in the sunlight when in contact with the titanium dioxide coating and slough off. This could be part of the renovation. Would make sense.
post #35 of 43
I hope they make the stairs wider or maybe include another elevator. The store is a tourist magnet and these ridiculous people walk around in slow motion and show no courtesy towards others. Maybe that's how they do things in the little town where they came from, but in New York, they need to increase their tempo. People who have important things to do and places to go shouldn't be held back or constricted by these foreign snail like creatures.
post #36 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by saarek View Post

Why does it need replacing, assume it's not all cracked and grungy.

It's not. They are doing ground level repairs and removing the cube to avoid damage which would be more costly than the removal

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post #37 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpluck View Post

Apple's first responsibility is to their shareholders. Spending millions of dollars on frivolous crap ignores that responsibility.

-kpluck

Sorry, you are missing the point. Apple is responsible to enhance the cityscape irrelevant of their boardmemmbers. NYC Gov't and city planning has ordinances and rules for the installation of art or entrances or something that is supposedly both. I am sure community boards, local council members, etc. were involved in the approval of the piece. Sorry, the city doesn't hand over the keys to make an Apple board pleased. At least we hope not. Point being that a conglomerate doesn't supersede the common citizen. SO, it isn't necessary for someone without the deep pockets "You could always buy out the lease yourself if you don't like it." to have to see something atrocious in their neighborhood daily.

I agree that the space has been enhanced by the cube. Yes, I like it. I agree that it could be further improved with seating and trees.
post #38 of 43
It'll be replaced with something round as another poster here said, but it will be a single enormous Apple.

So perfect in a single large (50') piece of sculptered glass, that they won't have the heart to cut a doorway in it.

All shopping will have to be done via iOS devices while admiring from the street-level plaza.

The Apple Store employees will have to come up before the Apple is installed.

Clearly.
post #39 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by electraluxx View Post

Sorry, it is a NYC streetscape first. The cube is just across the street from Central Park too. Ever since the misguided razing of Penn Station, NYC has been hyper-aware of the importance of architecture and how it enhances the public experience. Apple has a responsibility to the community to make whatever they put there awesome. They are lucky to be here. Don't think so? Ask Wal-Mart who is doing everything they can, even unionizing, to get a spot in the Big Apple.

Someone else pointed out diffs between Apple Stores and Wal-Marts, but at base a retail chain is a retail chain, whatever keeps it profitable and ubiquitous. Mainly I just wanted to add that it took Mickey D's decades to worm their way into the city - with explicit promises to "blend into" the "storescape" of neighborhoods. And basically they have.

Still, when I visited a medieval city in Germany - staying in a wonderful 500 year old guesthouse, after breakfast in a quaint sitting room, we went out to explore and I was totally dismayed that there was a small McDonald's two doors away - nested between many other old, charming spots. Just a clash and discordant note that still dominates many of my other memories of the stay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I hope they make the stairs wider or maybe include another elevator. The store is a tourist magnet and these ridiculous people walk around in slow motion and show no courtesy towards others. Maybe that's how they do things in the little town where they came from, but in New York, they need to increase their tempo. People who have important things to do and places to go shouldn't be held back or constricted by these foreign snail like creatures.

You forgot to put "self-" in front of "important." So many NY'er's act like Manhattan is the pre-Galileo center of the universe, that the known world ends at the Hudson River and that their scramble for their next latte is more "important" than say, completing a cancer research center in UT. I've never met more provincial and insular people in my life, and some people from the heartland are more truly cosmopolitan and aware of bigger pictures.

NYC's (arguably) (still?) the most dynamic city in the world, but that doesn't confer any special rights or superiority on the denizens. Get over yourself already.

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post #40 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

My inside sources say they're going to replace it with a pyramid like at the Louvre.

Apple sure has a thing for pyramids and Stargates.

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