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Photos show major renovations in progress at Apple's Fifth Ave store

post #1 of 41
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This week, Apple began construction to replace the iconic 32-foot glass cube at its heavily trafficked retail store on Fifth Avenue, and AppleInsider offers a first look at the work in progress.

Those who pass the storefront will encounter a temporary wall of grey plywood fronting the street. A small gap between the walls serves as a pathway for customers to still access the staircase that leads to the store below.

On the way to the staircase, customers can see stacks of materials and temporary materials associated with the construction. The materials and workers are there to begin work on a $6.7 million project to replace the glass cube that began this week.

The impressive structure has become something of a New York City landmark since it was unveiled in May of 2006. A recent study found that it is one of the most photographed locations in the entire city.

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs is said to have personally designed and even paid for the hollow glass structure that serves as the store's entrance. The latest renovations are not the first time the structure has been tweaked: Shortly before its unveiling in 2006, Jobs was said to have been unhappy with some of the materials used to construct the cube, and last-minute changes were made.

The all-glass design has even inspired other projects from Apple, including its megastore in Shanghai that opened last summer. Like the Fifth Avenue store, its entrance is a staircase enclosed in glass, though the one in China is a cylinder.

Apple's interest in glass will even extend to its planned 12,000-employee campus at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. When pitching the concept to the local city council, Jobs remarked that the building will look like a "spaceship."

"There's not a straight piece of glass in this building," he said. "We've used our experience in building retail buildings all over the world. We know how to make the biggest pieces of glass for architectural use."

Some of those experiences gained from the last five years since the Fifth Avenue store first opened will undoubtedly play a part as Apple partakes in its $6.7 million replacement of the iconic glass cube. In addition to the cube, Apple also plans to remove protective bollards, install new pavers around the perimeter, and remove and install surrounding water drains.

Photos of the construction currently underway are included below. Thanks to AppleInsider reader Ryan for the pictures.
post #2 of 41
Damn, this was going to be one my stops to take pictures when I arrive in NYC for the 4th of July.
post #3 of 41
...which will ultimately lead to the all-glass Mac, iPhone and finally, the Apple iGlasses (around 2015).

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post #4 of 41
You know, this whole "all glass" architecture is pretty remarkable and attractive and all... until an earthquake of decent magnitude hits New York. Then I bet the resulting damage and injuries will change people's minds real quick-like! \

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post #5 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockarollr View Post

You know, this whole "all glass" architecture is pretty remarkable and attractive and all... until an earthquake of decent magnitude hits New York. Then I bet the resulting damage and injuries will change people's minds real quick-like! \

Two words:
Gorilla Glass
post #6 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockarollr View Post

You know, this whole "all glass" architecture is pretty remarkable and attractive and all... until an earthquake of decent magnitude hits New York. Then I bet the resulting damage and injuries will change people's minds real quick-like! \

now i'm depressed
post #7 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockarollr View Post

You know, this whole "all glass" architecture is pretty remarkable and attractive and all... until an earthquake of decent magnitude hits New York. Then I bet the resulting damage and injuries will change people's minds real quick-like! \

Quick, write Steve! I bet his structural engineers never ever thought of earthquakes!
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post #8 of 41
I would love to know to what extent having this flashy architecture at their stores results in higher revenue, justifying the expense?
post #9 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by resnyc View Post

I would love to know to what extent having this flashy architecture at their stores results in higher revenue, justifying the expense?

You're kidding, right??!!

That cube paid for itself in advertising in the first month (maybe even the first week).
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post #10 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockarollr View Post

You know, this whole "all glass" architecture is pretty remarkable and attractive and all... until an earthquake of decent magnitude hits New York. Then I bet the resulting damage and injuries will change people's minds real quick-like! \

I think that California has a bit more to worry about when it comes to earthquakes than New York does. Sooner or later, a massive one is going to hit Cali and it's going to be devastating. I'm not a geologist, but I don't think that New York lies on a major fault line. New York has nothing to worry about when it comes to earthquakes.
post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by resnyc View Post

I would love to know to what extent having this flashy architecture at their stores results in higher revenue, justifying the expense?

The Fifth Ave store is the most profitable out of them all.
post #12 of 41
I see two things with their current design. A glass cube and an illuminated Apple logo. What if they are going to combine that with their ability create huge panes of curved glass to make the entrance a giant glass Apple logo in 3D.
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post #13 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by resnyc View Post

I would love to know to what extent having this flashy architecture at their stores results in higher revenue, justifying the expense?

According to Bloomberg that store grosses over $35000 per square foot. That's over twice the figure for Tiffany & Co. So yes, the flashy architecture paid for itself really really fast.
post #14 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I think that California has a bit more to worry about when it comes to earthquakes than New York does. Sooner or later, a massive one is going to hit Cali and it's going to be devastating. I'm not a geologist, but I don't think that New York lies on a major fault line. New York has nothing to worry about when it comes to earthquakes.

Surprise! The NYC store actually sits in an earthquake zone.
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post #15 of 41
Quote:
Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs is said to have personally designed and even paid for the hollow glass structure

Why would Steve Jobs have paid for it himself? The guy only makes $1/year.
post #16 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

...which will ultimately lead to the all-glass Mac, iPhone and finally, the Apple iGlasses (around 2015).



Five.

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post #17 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockarollr View Post

You know, this whole "all glass" architecture is pretty remarkable and attractive and all... until an earthquake of decent magnitude hits New York. Then I bet the resulting damage and injuries will change people's minds real quick-like! \

It has to meet the building codes in place that include designing for the seismic zone it is located in. Likely the buildings surrounding the cube will cause more damage than the cube itself since those buildings did not have to meet as strict a standard.
post #18 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

Why would Steve Jobs have paid for it himself? The guy only makes $1/year.

If you read the article they reference, he didn't say he designed the structure, just the cube, in reference to the NeXT Cube and the G4 Cube, basically....the cube is his "thing".
post #19 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

Surprise! The NYC store actually sits in an earthquake zone.

If there is any earthquake, it'll be pretty minor, this is not much to worry about. And that earthquake zone which you speak of is not a major fault line, like the one they have in California.

Of the things that New Yorkers need to worry about, earthquakes are probably #127 on the list.
post #20 of 41
Can we have something more iconic in San Francisco where it's actually where WWDC and other Apple events are often held?

BTW, I'm using Safari 5.1 beta and it's always dog slow after viewing several websites. Oops, is this a feature I'm not supposed to disclose under NDA?
post #21 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

If there is any earthquake, it'll be pretty minor, this is not much to worry about. And that earthquake zone which you speak of is not a major fault line, like the one they have in California.

Of the things that New Yorkers need to worry about, earthquakes are probably #127 on the list.

Actually, New York has plenty to worry about when it comes to earthquakes. Due to the sparseness of earthquakes on the east coast many of the older buildings in NYC aren't even close to being safe. The type of major earthquake that hits NYC every hundred years or so is small by west coast standards, 5 on the scale, but could still do some very major damage. NYC is usually hit by several smaller quakes during that hundred year gap. Right now they are due for a larger quake.

They may not worry about it... but...
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post #22 of 41
Since it's already a deep hole, maybe they could connect it up to some subway lines and let the 5th Ave. store have it's own station. Steve Jobs Plaza. Riders get off and they have to make their way through aisles of Apple products before they can reach the street. A lot of people might find it hard to resist buying at least one item. Great idea. I'm zipping off an email to Cupertino.
post #23 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

The Fifth Ave store is the most profitable out of them all.

Actually, I think it got eclipsed by the new store in China, but that one is even more impressive with the curved glass cylinder, at least IMO.
post #24 of 41
Good to see Steve making buildings as fragile as his phones.

Maybe the iphone 5 will have the sides made of glass too so its even more prone to shattering.
post #25 of 41
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post #26 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockarollr View Post

You know, this whole "all glass" architecture is pretty remarkable and attractive and all... until an earthquake of decent magnitude hits New York. Then I bet the resulting damage and injuries will change people's minds real quick-like! \

More worrying are the nearby high-rises. But such glass is usually built from tempered glass that shatters into small smooth-edged pieces, just like the glass in your car's windshield.
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post #27 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockarollr View Post

You know, this whole "all glass" architecture is pretty remarkable and attractive and all... until an earthquake of decent magnitude hits New York. Then I bet the resulting damage and injuries will change people's minds real quick-like! \

Oh, I don't know. When you look up from within the beautiful glass cube and see several hundred tonnes of concrete building bearing down on you you probably won't worry about the glass.
post #28 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

More worrying are the nearby high-rises. But such glass is usually built from tempered glass that shatters into small smooth-edged pieces, just like the glass in your car's windshield.

Automotive windshield glass is made of two panes of glass with a polymer layer sandwiched in-between. It is not tempered, but laminated. Its purpose is to do the exact opposite to keep the occupants from being ejected out of the car in a crash and to also resist outside projectiles from entering and killing those same occupants. The glass will crack, but not break into pieces.

The tempered glass you are referring to is actually used for the car's side and rear windows. That will shatter into those thousands of pieces, just like the glass doors in most Apple stores which makes them easy targets for iThieves.
post #29 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kame View Post

Can we have something more iconic in San Francisco where it's actually where WWDC and other Apple events are often held?

Cupertino's getting a circular building larger than the Pentagon. That's your icon.

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post #30 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

Since it's already a deep hole, maybe they could connect it up to some subway lines and let the 5th Ave. store have it's own station. Steve Jobs Plaza. Riders get off and they have to make their way through aisles of Apple products before they can reach the street. A lot of people might find it hard to resist buying at least one item. Great idea. I'm zipping off an email to Cupertino.

Fifth Avenue doesn't have a subway line.
post #31 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by resnyc View Post

I would love to know to what extent having this flashy architecture at their stores results in higher revenue, justifying the expense?

If you want a totally practical store, shop at Costco, BJs, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, etc. The flashy architecture makes the Apple stores destinations for both locals and tourists. Apple stores, especially the non-mall stores, generally have the highest grosses per square foot in retail, even luxury retail. The 5th Avenue store is open 24 hours a day. Do you really thing they would get the same attention and traffic if they were just "ordinary" stores? Do you think Bang & Olufsen stores, BOSE stores, AT&T stores or Gateway stores get or got the kind of traffic that Apple gets? No. Because those stores never became destination stores.

Apple weathered the recession better than any other company. And once the recession started, Apple was predicted to be an especially big loser because their products are perceived (whether true or not) as being higher priced than the competition. I'm a fan of Apple but even I thought their entry into retail would fail. (Obviously, I was wrong.)

Apple is successful in large measure because of the stores. To challenge the flashy architecture is typical of the lack of vision associated with most bottom-line oriented executives. Do you really want Apple stores to look like Radio Shack?
post #32 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by michelle_eris View Post

Fifth Avenue doesn't have a subway line.

Actually it does. The R train goes across 59th street. There's a 5th Avenue station with several entrances: one on Central Park South (59th street) and one on the corner of 5th Avenue and 60th (I think). The Apple Store is on 5th Avenue between 58th and 59th street. The train tracks actually cut through the middle of the block between 59th and 60th street, but there's probably no way to connect the store to the station directly. They would have to dig a tunnel heading northward on 5th Avenue.

But as Steve Jobs stated in the community board meeting about the new Apple headquarters, he believes that since Apple pays taxes, that the local government should take care of general services, so I doubt he would ever be in favor of Apple taking over a subway station (although they did renovate a station adjacent to an Apple store outside of Chicago, right?)
post #33 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

Actually, New York has plenty to worry about when it comes to earthquakes. Due to the sparseness of earthquakes on the east coast many of the older buildings in NYC aren't even close to being safe. The type of major earthquake that hits NYC every hundred years or so is small by west coast standards, 5 on the scale, but could still do some very major damage. NYC is usually hit by several smaller quakes during that hundred year gap. Right now they are due for a larger quake.

They may not worry about it... but...

The skyscrapers in New York are built to sway and are built on very strong bedrock. So my understanding is that New York could survive an earthquake quite well. The biggest danger probably is glass panes falling off of modern buildings and very old tenements that are only still standing because they're leaning on the adjacent building.

There was an earthquake in New York City sometime around 1988. I woke up in the middle of the night and thought I saw my walls swaying. There was no rumbling. I thought I was hallucinating, so I went back to sleep. The next morning, someone asked me if I felt the earthquake. There was absolutely no damage anywhere in the City, although it obviously wasn't a big quake.
post #34 of 41
According to my sources, the renovations have very little to do with the cube. They are mainly removing it to protect it.

The bulk, if not all the changes are to the plaza ground plus some piping that needs to be refitted for internal remodeling (and due to some leaks).
post #35 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Cupertino's getting a circular building larger than the Pentagon. That's your icon.

By bigger you mean smaller. The Pentagon is 6.5mil Sq Ft, of which 3.7mil Sq Ft is offices. It's much much bigger in terms of area and occupancy than the Apple main building will be, or indeed probably the entire campus.

It was until recently the largest building by floor space in the USA, and depending on how many super secret sub-basements it has, who knows it may still be
post #36 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by davestall View Post

Good to see Steve making buildings as fragile as his phones.

Maybe the iphone 5 will have the sides made of glass too so its even more prone to shattering.

cute.
post #37 of 41
It really doesn't matter, because the arrival of Android Jelly-Bean will make it all passé. Remember, as an Apple Store, it will always be closed, and walled like a garden.

Cheers
post #38 of 41
[QUOTE=Kame;1883725]Can we have something more iconic in San Francisco where it's actually where WWDC and other Apple events are often held?

its coming to cupertino instead... WWDC will be held at the NEW mothership. Steve's not that hot on Moscone... But I have to agree the Apple store on Stockton needs a upgrade. Actually its the feral BART station that makes this area a dump for panhandlers and gawky tourists....
post #39 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by minicapt View Post

It really doesn't matter, because the arrival of Android Jelly-Bean will make it all passé. Remember, as an Apple Store, it will always be closed, and walled like a garden.

Cheers

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post #40 of 41
They didn't install the glass cube to see increased returns on investment from the flashy structure. They installed it because it was challenging to build, and they wanted to push architecture forward.

It doesn't help sales, but it does look good downtown and adds beauty. Apple has learned that if you do things right, in the long run you'll profit by not worrying about every little piece of thing that you make being about making more money this is something we can all learn, it's the reason Microsoft, Dell, IBM, HP, and other companies are worth less, they haven't learned to
"follow there heart, instead of showing a return on investment every quarter"

Quote:
Originally Posted by resnyc View Post

I would love to know to what extent having this flashy architecture at their stores results in higher revenue, justifying the expense?
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