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Apple simplifying Fifth Ave glass cube with larger, seamless panes

post #1 of 61
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Apple this week updated the construction site at its iconic Fifth Avenue store entrance, revealing that the new $6.7 million glass cube being built there will be simpler and more efficient [includes new pictures].

This week, Apple posted a new sign at its flagship store in New York City, revealing to passersby the meaning of the major project currently underway. AppleInsider reader Ryan supplied photos of the latest changes.

"We're simplifying the Fifth Avenue Cube," it reads. "By using larger, seamless pieces of glass, we're using just 15 panes instead of 90."

On the other side of the giant temporary structure shielding the public from the construction, an Apple logo is displayed, along with the text: "Apple Store, Fifth Avenue. Still open 24 hours."

Work to replace the 32-foot cube began in June. Permits filed with the New York Department of Buildings show that the entire project will cost Apple $6.7 million, and that construction is expected to be completed by November.

While the project has been underway for a number of weeks, Apple had not previously revealed why the cube was being replaced. This week's notice posted on Fifth Avenue is the first such reveal, indicating the 90 smaller panes of glass previously used will be replaced by 15 massive ones.



Apple shielded the public from the construction by erecting a temporary wall of grey plywood fronting the street. A small gap between the ways served as a pathway for customers to access the staircase that leads to the store below.



Later, as replacement of the cube itself began, Apple constructed, a second, temporary cube made of tarps to cover the original on Fifth Avenue. Users must pass through a makeshift hallway, complete with overhead lights, to enter the underground store.



The structure has been a popular destination since it opened 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 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.
post #2 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"We're simplifying the Fifth Avenue Cube," it reads. "By using larger, seamless pieces of glass, we're using just 15 panes instead of 90."

Is that really necessary? Seems like a lot of work and expense for very little change in appearance.

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post #3 of 61
Certainly not necessary in the sense of the store being unable to function without it. Building it in the first place wasnt eithernor is any architecture that serves aesthetic purposes. Thats always optional. At the same time, havingand even improvinga NY landmark does drive business indirectly.

But it seems that its more like a kind of hobby project for Jobs! I didnt realize he paid for it personally.
post #4 of 61
Just wondering why Steve would personally pay for this. it's not like Apple is short of cash, or anyone would disagree with him.
post #5 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stourque View Post

Just wondering why Steve would personally pay for this. it's not like Apple is short of cash, or anyone would disagree with him.

It's not like he's short of cash either.

I suppose it's a vanity thing, in a good way. As rich folks mature or come fact to face with their own mortality the tendency is to begin thinking of a legacy. The great industrialists of the 19th century funded great urban public architecture; Steve is doing it his way. I wonder if he is hoping that the cube will outlast the store? Sort of like the Eiffel Tower got under the skin of Parisians.
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post #6 of 61
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Originally Posted by Stourque View Post

Just wondering why Steve would personally pay for this. it's not like Apple is short of cash, or anyone would disagree with him.

There are many reasons. For instance, not being short on cash doesn't mean that departments with Apple can use as much as they see fit. There could easily have been quotas and limits for multiple reasons that made it advantageous for Jobs to spend the money himself. IT could be as simple as keeping that department from going over budget for the quarter and he may have been reimbursed with interest a few months later. Or perhaps Steve saw it as an iconic piece of art and therefore wanted it to attached more to his name than his company.
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post #7 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple this week updated the construction site at its iconic Fifth Avenue store entrance, revealing that the new $6.7 million glass cube being built there will be simpler and more efficient...

More efficient? BS.

Anyway, it's not my money, so I don't really care. As long as it creates jobs, it's good I suppose. Dumber things have been done.
post #8 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Is that really necessary? Seems like a lot of work and expense for very little change in appearance.

That's the price of perfection.


And count on this: the cube *will be* retroffited again when it becomes technologically feasible to just put one single glass pane per face. Even if it costs 20 million to do so.

You can't put a price on the symbolic power of these things.
post #9 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stourque View Post

Just wondering why Steve would personally pay for this. it's not like Apple is short of cash, or anyone would disagree with him.

Back in 2006 Apple weren't so swimming in cash as they are these days though.

I wonder what Apple will try to make out of glass next?
post #10 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

More efficient? BS.

Anyway, it's not my money, so I don't really care. As long as it creates jobs, it's good I suppose. Dumber things have been done.

Efficiency is the art of doing more with less.

Fewer pieces of glass means fewer connectors, joins. Doesn't necessarily mean it will be stronger, but maybe the new glass is more durable. We'll just have to wait and see.

To me, it seems like a big expense, but it creates news and will create foot traffic. They'll get their investment back in no time flat.
post #11 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

More efficient? BS.

It might be, if the glass type has changed and it blocks heat from coming in or lets excess heat out better.

Does anyone know if the seems are sealed? Fewer seams might mean less air leakage. But that would be silly, I really don't think transparent silicone sealer is ugly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuisDias View Post

That's the price of perfection.


And count on this: the cube *will be* retroffited again when it becomes technologically feasible to just put one single glass pane per face. Even if it costs 20 million to do so.

You can't put a price on the symbolic power of these things.

It might not be a problem with technology there, it might be that the glass production lines aren't that wide, that anyone can build one already but there is insufficient market for it.

Notice that these panes are a lot longer than they are wide, the shortest dimension might be as wide as the currently built glass lines allow.
post #12 of 61
Cube? You would think he would make the building lower.
post #13 of 61
Jobs has always been interested in architecture. It shows in his designs. I bet he'd like to make an impact in this area too.
Those are huge panes of glass. The horizontal ones are particularly impressive, suspending that much weight in glass. Now think about the new spaceship HQ in Cupertino and how it's not supposed to have any straight pieces of glass. If they can bend this size of glass it seems like it could be the outer skin on the spaceship.
post #14 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Is that really necessary? Seems like a lot of work and expense for very little change in appearance.

Agree. Doesn't seem very Apple-y. Unless they're going to melt down the old panes to make iPhone 5 screens!
post #15 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolfactor View Post

Efficiency is the art of doing more with less.

Not if you have to do it twice

Quote:
Fewer pieces of glass means fewer connectors, joins. Doesn't necessarily mean it will be stronger, but maybe the new glass is more durable. We'll just have to wait and see.

Was the old construction cracked or what?

Quote:
To me, it seems like a big expense, but it creates news and will create foot traffic. They'll get their investment back in no time flat.

Mere speculations. How would you measure the difference? I don't think any New Yorker will bother to go there just to see the new cube. Tourists who care about this store would have gone anyway.
post #16 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuisDias View Post

That's the price of perfection.


And count on this: the cube *will be* retroffited again when it becomes technologically feasible to just put one single glass pane per face. Even if it costs 20 million to do so.

You can't put a price on the symbolic power of these things.


Well said. Any brand would kill to own a building that is quickly becoming a city icon on par with historical landmarks as far as attractiveness goes.
post #17 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuisDias View Post

That's the price of perfection.


And count on this: the cube *will be* retroffited again when it becomes technologically feasible to just put one single glass pane per face. Even if it costs 20 million to do so.

You can't put a price on the symbolic power of these things.

Maybe the price of obsession. I don't really care much for anything Apple is doing lately.

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post #18 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuisDias View Post

And count on this: the cube *will be* retroffited again when it becomes technologically feasible to just put one single glass pane per face. Even if it costs 20 million to do so.

Bah - they could do that today if they wanted. The Monterey Aquarium has a single-pane window 15 feet x 54 feet, and that's having to hold back 1,000,000 gallons of water.
post #19 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Is that really necessary? Seems like a lot of work and expense for very little change in appearance.

No. It was not necessary. So is not making Apple products out of pricey aluminum and glass when cheaper metallic-coated plastic and film could have been cheaper.

No, it was not necessary. So was not making a big, beautiful UFO building, wastefully surrounded by acres of trees when they could just have paved it with asphalt and put up generic-box buildings.

No, it was necessary. So was not trying to make products that not only function well, but are pleasing visually.

So what's your point? You want to live in ConcreteVille?

They got the money, they can afford it, it's providing jobs, and I've never been happier as an AAPL owner.

When you make your billions of dollars, go right ahead and do what you want with it.
post #20 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple this week updated the construction site at its iconic Fifth Avenue store entrance, revealing that the new $6.7 million glass cube being built there will be simpler and more efficient [includes new pictures]...

The only thing I find disappointing is I was hoping they would use some curved glass and make it a rounded corner cube, which I think would be more fitting, more iconic, and better looking overall.

This thing might be more efficient in some ways but it doesn't look like it will be more attractive than the old one, in fact possibly less so.

Also, to all those complaining, there may be other reasons we don't know about. Taking the words of Apple's publicists verbatim as to why they are doing it ignores the very real possibility that there were other reasons and that this is just the cover story. For all we know the caulking was failing and the glass in danger of falling down.
post #21 of 61
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Originally Posted by Sierrajeff View Post

Bah - they could do that today if they wanted. The Monterey Aquarium has a single-pane window 15 feet x 54 feet, and that's having to hold back 1,000,000 gallons of water.

I'm not going to even pretend to be anything close to a civil engineer, but would the fact that the entire structure being made of glass make it more difficult? I have no idea, I'm just wondering, but it would seem to me that, even with all the water, having one gigantic piece of glass surrounded by other, more structurally sound materials would be much easier to do than having five completely glass surfaces making up the entirety of a building.
post #22 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierrajeff View Post

Bah - they could do that today if they wanted. The Monterey Aquarium has a single-pane window 15 feet x 54 feet, and that's having to hold back 1,000,000 gallons of water.

I think you are probably right, but holding back water is not the same thing as holding up weight. For the first it just has to be firmly fixed at the edges and very inflexible, to use as a structural element it has to be able to take twisting strains applied to the edges.

I think you are right though, possibly it's just the aesthetics that leads them not to use that glass. It would be much thicker than the glass they are using for instance.
post #23 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierrajeff View Post

Bah - they could do that today if they wanted. The Monterey Aquarium has a single-pane window 15 feet x 54 feet, and that's having to hold back 1,000,000 gallons of water.

Aquariums' glass panels are designed to withstand pressure in specific ways, that are nothing like what goes into a building design. I'm not saying you're wrong and such glass panels are impossible to produce today, only that your comparison isn't adequate. The two uses of glass are very very different (and btw aquariums panels are not made of 'glass' usually).
post #24 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac View Post

Cube? You would think he would make the building lower.

WTF? Because a glass pizza box is more attractive?
post #25 of 61
I just hope they fix the top step of the staircase. Major crack. Guess somene dropped an iMac on it....
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post #26 of 61
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Originally Posted by Lisamacnewton View Post

I just hope they fix the top step of the staircase. Major crack. Guess somene dropped an iMac on it....

Or a hackintosh...
post #27 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stourque View Post

Just wondering why Steve would personally pay for this. it's not like Apple is short of cash, or anyone would disagree with him.

Clearly you haven't been paying attention.
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post #28 of 61
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Originally Posted by Sierrajeff View Post

Bah - they could do that today if they wanted. The Monterey Aquarium has a single-pane window 15 feet x 54 feet, and that's having to hold back 1,000,000 gallons of water.

Are you sure they aren't using polycarbonate? I imagine that's a lot thicker, whatever the material is.

Also note that the cube is a lot more than 15ft on a side. Write back when it's 40 ft x 40 ft, because it's not just about the stresses, it might be that such a big pane of glass might not be possible on machinery that's running right now.
post #29 of 61
Hi,
Wasn't there some stipulation back when the original cube was built that Jobs could take the cube in his possession at some point, having paid for it? Can anyone verify this? I remember thinking "what the hell is he going to do with that thing?" but perhaps his home is being constructed and he wants a little piece of Apple Retail history. Would make a great greenhouse, endless pool room, workout space, sunroom (!) etc.

I bet he's keeping it for himself.
post #30 of 61
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Originally Posted by benny-boy View Post

...Would make a great greenhouse, endless pool room, workout space, sunroom (!) etc.

I bet he's keeping it for himself.

Mausoleum...
post #31 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Are you sure they aren't using polycarbonate? I imagine that's a lot thicker, whatever the material is.

Also note that the cube is a lot more than 15ft on a side. Write back when it's 40 ft x 40 ft, because it's not just about the stresses, it might be that such a big pane of glass might not be possible on machinery that's running right now.

I imagine some sort of conveyer is used for making such large panes. If so, that would be a reason why these panes are allowed to become longer on one axis. Having a furnace that is 40' wide isn't something I've yet read about.
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post #32 of 61
What a joke. What about the waste involved? What about the environment, the energy and $6.7 M cost involved to make this replacement? Little wonder Apple's stockpile of money is returning such a low rate.

What is one of those 15 panels going to cost to replace if one of them is broken? Apple has stripped their London store because of the riots. Apple stores are broken into frequently in the US. Makes zero sense to me that such a small change is so important for someone's ego.

As a shareholder I would much rather see Apple spend that money on a plant to manufacture some of their products in the United States.
post #33 of 61
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Originally Posted by jfkindc View Post

What a joke. What about the waste involved? What about the environment, the energy and $6.7 M cost involved to make this replacement? Little wonder Apple's stockpile of money is returning such a low rate.

What is one of those 15 panels going to cost to replace if one of them is broken? Apple has stripped their London store because of the riots. Apple stores are broken into frequently in the US. Makes zero sense to me that such a small change is so important for someone's ego.

As a shareholder I would much rather see Apple spend that money on a plant to manufacture some of their products in the United States.

Oh come on. If you truly are an Apple shareholder, you should know that aesthetic design has always been extremely high on the list of Apple's priorities. And your rant about the environment? And energy? Really? Apple, who of all the manufacturers is the most transparent and advanced with their environmental endeavors. This is also the same company that doesn't spend a single cent without weighing the positives and negatives of that expenditure, and I have very little to complain about with this move. It doesn't hurt anything, and for all you know, the old structure could have been on the verge of falling apart, and Apple was proactive about it and found a better way to build the structure. Stop trolling now, and please leave us alone.
post #34 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

More efficient? BS.

Anyway, it's not my money, so I don't really care. As long as it creates jobs, it's good I suppose. Dumber things have been done.

Bs?

That's like saying replacing old single pane windows with double pane is less efficient...

Simple and straightforward renovation to update a icon. That's it.

Material tech is prob more advance as well.
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post #35 of 61
Bad idea. When disadvantaged youths start looting in new York and break a few panels it would be more expansive to replace than a few small ones.
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post #36 of 61
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Originally Posted by sheff View Post

Bad idea. When disadvantaged youths start looting in new York and break a few panels it would be more expansive to replace than a few small ones.

1) Since the current panes are load bearing breaking a pane in a typical window.

2) Regardless of what the material is destruction of property could still happen.

3) For all we know this new cub will be considerably more resilient than the current cube. new material, thicker glass, etc.
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post #37 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

Bad idea. When disadvantaged youths start looting in new York and break a few panels it would be more expansive to replace than a few small ones.

This isn't London, it's New York, and I doubt that we'll be hearing any stories about gangs of youth thugs running around the streets, rioting and looting by the Apple store on 5th Ave.

And, just for the sake of argument, if such a thing were to happen, then the NYPD would shoot the thugs dead in a New York Minute.
post #38 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfkindc View Post

What a joke. What about the waste involved? What about the environment, the energy and $6.7 M cost involved to make this replacement? Little wonder Apple's stockpile of money is returning such a low rate.

What is one of those 15 panels going to cost to replace if one of them is broken? Apple has stripped their London store because of the riots. Apple stores are broken into frequently in the US. Makes zero sense to me that such a small change is so important for someone's ego.

As a shareholder I would much rather see Apple spend that money on a plant to manufacture some of their products in the United States.


What waste? Glass is 100% recyclable.

As far as jobs go, project like these prOvide jobs, tearing down,removal,new panels.

Look at the bigger picture, apple only gains.

As far as a efficiency goes, less is better in apple eyes, we already know that, the panels could be more energy efficient, and so on.
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post #39 of 61
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Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Is that really necessary? Seems like a lot of work and expense for very little change in appearance.

We don't know all the improvements and/or changes intended by this work, but Apple thinks it's necessary. If you've ever been inside the store during a rainstorm, you have probably wondered how Apple could fix the problem of all that water cascading on the stairs and dripping on the floor.
post #40 of 61
It's Steve's toy; plain and simple. He likes the shape and sees a way to improve on its looks and solve problems like watertightness. And realizing the impact, I'm sure he's had the planned improvements looked at from all possible angles to ensure that it's environmentally sound. We'll look at the end result and say that he should have done it sooner.

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