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Apple must modify Union Square store plans to save fountain, says City of San Francisco

post #1 of 65
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Apple may be required to rework its design for a new Union Square flagship store, as San Francisco's Planning Department has reviewed the Cupertino company's plans and found the preliminary proposal wanting.

store


The Planning Department issued its Preliminary Project Assessment (PDF) on Friday, finding that Apple's proposed design for a some controversy.

The planning board's recommendations advise Apple to "[c]onsider the retention or relocation of the Ruth Asawa fountain as a part of the new reconfigured plaza, perhaps connecting it to, and integrating it with, another water theme within the plaza." Barring that, the assessment calls for Apple to work with the Department "to find an alternative location for its display within the City."

The fountain ? a brass installation that has been in place in the plaza near Apple's proposed store for 40 years ? displays a map of San Francisco done in stylized relief form. Apple's project first drew criticism when San Francisco Chronicle design critic John King drew attention to the fact that Apple's submitted proposal would displace the local landmark.

store


Following the initial flap over the fountain, San Francisco mayor Ed Lee backpedaled on his initial praise for Apple's design. Lee subsequently said that the proposal would necessitate a second look, given its potential impact.

Another point of concern for the Planning Department is ensuring that the design of Apple's new store fits in well with the overall look of the area. The Assessment encourages a "contemporary design" ? Apple's current plan calls for a minimalist structure with an all-glass facade and a blank rear wall ? but it also says that the "overall design and detailing should relate to the established patterns, rhythm and architectural character found within the District."

The Assessment makes a nod to the transparent facade and nontransparent rear wall, but notes that "there are ways of achieving the desired design concept while still responding to the fine-grain scale found within the District." To that end, it calls for the plan to incorporate "increased modulation and definition" in the form of "vertical elements to break the contiguous plane of the glass wall, and/or adding color, pattern or texture to the glass wall."

For the rear facade, the Department advises the inclusion of "a more active, transparent treatment." Apple's current plan would create an 80-foot blank wall along "an important commercial street with high pedestrian volumes in the heart of the City's premier retail district." The Assessment proposes more windows or even a possible rethinking of the blank wall entirely in order to "generate an active zone, thereby tempting tempering the otherwise minimally embellished Stockton Street facade."

Additionally, the Assessment calls for Apple to rethink its approach to the stairway leading into the plaza next to its store. Apple's proposal called for a narrower stairway, but this is in conflict with the open space design principles governing the area. The Assessment recommends that Apple "[m]aintain as wide of a staircase as possible into the plaza, in order to create a more visible, inviting and usable edge along the sidewalk."

When the store was initially proposed, it received solid praise from the city's politicians and some designers. Of particular interest were the potential economic outgrowths from the new store, including 50 new jobs in addition to the 350 currently supported by the Stockton and Ellis Apple store.
post #2 of 65
"We'll just give another city our business, then."
post #3 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

"We'll just give another city our business, then."

 

You are a mind reader. That was my exact response.

 

Apple to San Francisco:  "You'd be lucky to have our business in your city."


Edited by SpamSandwich - 6/28/13 at 2:24pm

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post #4 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

 

You are a mind reader. That was my exact response.

 

Or better yet board it up and let it sit empty for a couple years while the work on the revisions. These things do take time.

post #5 of 65
San Francisco's planning department is notorious for meddling and micromanagement until every project is watered down and boring, but this story's headline simply doesn't match the story.

That said, thank god for The John King politburo delaying projects and making everything more expensive in order to aggrandize his own inflated sense of importance.
post #6 of 65
We will see if Apple blinks.

Mr. Job's would bend the will of the city to his design without compromising on any major design.

I believe however that new management will give in more than even the city expects from Apple.

My gut tells me if Apple decides to move forward with that location that they will incorporate most if not all of the recommendations.

I get their desire to save the fountain and I think Mr. Job's would have worked it in somehow, but I believe he would convinced everyone involved that the actual store design is exactly what everyone wants and needs for the area.

I do not think Mr. Cook can, will or wants that fight.
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post #7 of 65

In response, they could submit a revised plan with a giant person hanging off the Apple store with a his/her pants down, bare butt directly over the location of the fountain. I wonder how the Planning Department would take that?

post #8 of 65
It looks to me like the City wants to design the Apple store. But there's a real opportunity to do everything the City of SF wants, and keep the store much the way it is.

Dude! Elevate the store about 45 feet, have a gigantic wide staircase coming in to the glass uplift staircase underneath, and have a translucent floor.

Put the store on a pedestal & make it totally unique. Cowabunga!
post #9 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

"We'll just give another city our business, then."

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

 

You are a mind reader. That was my exact response.

 

Apple to San Francisco:  "You'd be lucky to have our business in your city."


As a born, raised, and currently residing in San Franciscan, I completely and wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment.  I'm so fed up with the way my beloved city is being forced to bend-over and grab its ankles to these political clowns.

That one particular corner is an eyesore.  Anything would improve it.  There is no visual continuity there unless you count "drab" and "cold" as part of the equation.

An Apple store there, in any creation would be a boon to the area, provide more jobs, more revenue/taxes and these a$$hats are more concerned about some stupid fountain that most people don't even know exists because of its current setup.

Move the damn fountain to the square itself.  It would/could be a centerpiece and enjoy much more foot traffic than the current location could ever provide.

Frickin idiots.
 

post #10 of 65

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I agree with TS.

 

Apple has a long history of an "It's our way or the highway" attitude and I respect that business approach.  Once they've made up their mind they stick with it.  They always appear to have a clear vision of what they want and make very calculated moves to achieve that vision.  I'm sure there are countless other locations that would be more then happy to have an Apple store.

post #11 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by DGNR8 View Post

We will see if Apple blinks.

Mr. Job's would bend the will of the city to his design without compromising on any major design.

I believe however that new management will give in more than even the city expects from Apple.

My gut tells me if Apple decides to move forward with that location that they will incorporate most if not all of the recommendations.

I get their desire to save the fountain and I think Mr. Job's would have worked it in somehow, but I believe he would convinced everyone involved that the actual store design is exactly what everyone wants and needs for the area.

I do not think Mr. Cook can, will or wants that fight.

This will be an interesting "test case" of how much Tim will fight to drag SF into the future. 

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post #12 of 65
"We'll just give another city our business, then."

I suspect SF generates enormous sales. Packing up and leaving would be cutting off your nose to spite your face. Not the appropriate response. The way I see it incorporate the fountain into the building. Just think of the business the fountain will generate. Visitors will come to see it and yeah, there's an Apple Store there too. Lets buy stuff.
post #13 of 65

The same thing happened here in Switzerland, the city of Zurich asked Apple to keep the building mostly original as well as the sidewalk and the railings around the new store, there is some silly uniformity code,  Apple had something else in mind and threatened to pull out of the project. The city officials basically said don't let the door hit you in your ass on the way out, Apple dropped it. Zurich really didn't want an Apple store anyway as there is already a Swiss owned chain of stores that just sells Apple products called DataQuest, they have been around since the late 80's. I know people who have banned the store but have no problem buying Apple products from DataQuest, nutty Swiss. We do crazy things to foreign businesses all the time, Mars wanted to bring M&M's here but the Swiss has a product called Smarties which is basically the same thing ,so Mars was only allowed to sell the peanut version of the candy. The Swiss government goes to great strengths to protect Swiss businesses from going under. The Ikea store's are literally in the middle of no where to discourage people from always going to them instead of a local furniture store, the list goes on and on.

 

What San Francisco is asking for seems pretty reasonable. I don't know how it is in the US but we take our historical landmarks pretty serious and no amount of money or promised jobs would ever change that, especially when our landmarks are 100's of years old and businesses come and go.

 

Edit;

I shouldn't comment on this, it's not my country, sorry.


Edited by Relic - 6/28/13 at 2:54pm
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post #14 of 65
Anyone having something to do with Apple's stores must be enraged right now. The most successful company in the world, with the best designers, is being told by some m*ron city planners, "it's too glassy, put up some vertical sh*t and colors to break it up," as if you can't see right through it, allowing the contents if the store to be featured as a way to break up the monotony of glass (which doesn't exist because it's gd transparent).

"While you're at it Apple, why don't you compromise the structural integrity of your building in an earthquake zone by getting rid of some of that wall-like space with the aluminum on it.. Or just make your store smaller, you know, so people can sit next to it or something, despite the fact that there's a completely unused plaza behind it, and Union Square just next to it, which is never overcrowded."

Unbelievable!

NB: The ridiculous triangular Levi's store that Apple would replace is not historic at all.

   

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post #15 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by DGNR8 View Post

We will see if Apple blinks.

Mr. Job's would bend the will of the city to his design without compromising on any major design.

I believe however that new management will give in more than even the city expects from Apple.

My gut tells me if Apple decides to move forward with that location that they will incorporate most if not all of the recommendations.

I get their desire to save the fountain and I think Mr. Job's would have worked it in somehow, but I believe he would convinced everyone involved that the actual store design is exactly what everyone wants and needs for the area.

I do not think Mr. Cook can, will or wants that fight.

 

God I hope that fountain goes away. It is a an eye-sore IMO.

post #16 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post

 

God I hope that fountain goes away. It is a an eye-sore IMO.

Isn't art supposed to be offensive. ;)

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post #17 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbed989 View Post

"We'll just give another city our business, then."

I suspect SF generates enormous sales. Packing up and leaving would be cutting off your nose to spite your face. Not the appropriate response. The way I see it incorporate the fountain into the building. Just think of the business the fountain will generate. Visitors will come to see it and yeah, there's an Apple Store there too. Lets buy stuff.

 

I don't think those in SF not near an Apple store would stop buying the products, but rather buy online. Incorporating that ugly fountain would not be a good idea and if people actually came to visit the fountain, someone would have already grabbed that retail spot to make money off those people. 

 

I bet that every sports team in SF demanded that the city build them a stadium and much more, so why would SF not respectfully move this fountain (to the dump in my opinion) and let Apple build? 

post #18 of 65
I've never seen the fountain in person, but from pictures it looks quite ugly. What is it with the fascination with "art" that lets ugly things become revered?
post #19 of 65

?

 

the plans had the fountain outside the footprint of the store anyway.

post #20 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post

...from pictures it looks quite ugly...

Duh! It's "Art"!

More redundantly, it's Apple!

Crazies & Haters will be.
post #21 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post

 

Or better yet board it up and let it sit empty for a couple years while the work on the revisions. These things do take time.

From photos I've seen here it is already boarded up....

post #22 of 65

Apple should just pull up stumps on this one and move on.

 

Leave that crappy triangle building to fall into disrepair, along with the jacuzzi beside it.

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post #23 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by DroidFTW View Post

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I agree with TS.

 

Apple has a long history of an "It's our way or the highway" attitude and I respect that business approach.  Once they've made up their mind they stick with it.  

 

Classic selective memory. Yes, there have been many memorable situations when the famous Apple will of steel won the day. There have also been situations when Apple ate crow and did what they had to do, including doing the right thing.

post #24 of 65

This is a pretty funny thread. Everyone (except a few) are so offended. Take your ball and go home. But remember that even the mighty Steve Jobs compromised on the designs of some of the Apple Stores.

post #25 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

"We'll just give another city our business, then."

That's just silly.

 

Apple will not abandon San Francisco. To do so would be counterproductive to the company itself.

post #26 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relic View Post

The same thing happened here in Switzerland, the city of Zurich asked Apple to keep the building mostly original as well as the sidewalk and the railings around the new store, there is some silly uniformity code,  Apple had something else in mind and threatened to pull out of the project. The city officials basically said don't let the door hit you in your ass on the way out, Apple dropped it. Zurich really didn't want an Apple store anyway as there is already a Swiss owned chain of stores that just sells Apple products called DataQuest, they have been around since the late 80's. 

Interesting. 

 

Wait, didn't Apple also have to make some compromises when building other stores too? Like in the US too?

 

So all the geniuses here who claim that Apple makes no compromise are ... wrong? Making it up? Nah, that can't be?

post #27 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheUnfetteredMind View Post

In response, they could submit a revised plan with a giant person hanging off the Apple store with a his/her pants down, bare butt directly over the location of the fountain. I wonder how the Planning Department would take that?


I'm not sure anyone would notice.  San Francisco used to be a beautiful city.  Now it's just a toilet for pan handlers, criminals and ne'er-do-wells.   There's literally streets in down town San Francisco where the stench of urine and feces can be smelt a 1/2 block away. 

 

The clowns running and working for the city of San Francisco - paid or not, need to re-assess their priorities.  Stop worrying about fugly water fountains and how to put more belligerent bicyclists on the road.  Start worrying about making the city a place for humans to inhabit.

post #28 of 65
Two things:

1) The architect's rendering shows that the surrounding structures are unremittingly characterless. As a Los Angeles native I have to admit it looks more like a shot of a typical part of my town than the usually much more interesting SF. That said, though I usually love Apple's stores, I think this particular store standard (the giant slab-sided desk) is TOO much like what's around it. (Look at the upper wall of the building to the left--Apple's right wall mirrors it perfectly--not a good thing IMHO. I love the store like this in Phoenix, where its minimalism looks very right.

2) That fountain. Would have to see it in person to judge, since scale and siting are important, but from what I see it clashes horribly with those steps. Apple should take the option offered of working with the city to find some way to move it to a more harmonious and flattering setting--lots of trees would enhance its organic look. Golden Gate Park?
Edited by Robin Huber - 6/28/13 at 4:49pm
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post #29 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relic View Post

What San Francisco is asking for seems pretty reasonable. I don't know how it is in the US but we take our historical landmarks pretty serious and no amount of money or promised jobs would ever change that, especially when our landmarks are 100's of years old and businesses come and go.

 

 

If you want to count a 70's eyesore as "historical" by all means.

 

I think it should be replaced with another '70's San Francisco icon, Dirty Harry with a Smith and Wesson 44 and a "Do you feel lucky, punk?" inscription.

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post #30 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post


I bet that every sports team in SF demanded that the city build them a stadium and much more, so why would SF not respectfully move this fountain (to the dump in my opinion) and let Apple build? 

You might lose that bet. Although the Giants tried for many years to get the city to participate in building them a new stadium, the supervisors and electorate never went for it and Pac Bell Park (now AT&T park) was privately financed. Similarly, the 49ers tried and failed to make a deal with the city, and so they are building a new stadium in
Santa Clara. The NBA Warriors were once in San Francisco, could not get a publicly financed gym, and so moved to Oakland. The new owner of the Warriors is planning to build a privately financed arena a few blocks from the baseball stadium and move the Warriors back to SF. Your premise is misinformed.
post #31 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbed989 View Post

"We'll just give another city our business, then."

I suspect SF generates enormous sales. Packing up and leaving would be cutting off your nose to spite your face. Not the appropriate response. The way I see it incorporate the fountain into the building. Just think of the business the fountain will generate. Visitors will come to see it and yeah, there's an Apple Store there too. Lets buy stuff.

If they incorporate the fountain into the building they become responsible for it. And I doubt they would do that. Plus it's ugly as hell. Even many folks in SF think so. No way would Apple want that anywhere in their space.

As for the nose, they have stores in SF and could still build another one but it might not be a flagship. No special architecture eric. That honor could be moved to say Oakland right next door.

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post #32 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

If they incorporate the fountain into the building they become responsible for it.

Simple. Build a brushed concrete wall all the way around it and a brushed concrete floor over top of it, not touching it on any side. Then that floor becomes the design of the second story of the Apple Store.
post #33 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatchyThePirate View Post

Anyone having something to do with Apple's stores must be enraged right now. The most successful company in the world, with the best designers, is being told by some m*ron city planners, "it's too glassy, put up some vertical sh*t and colors to break it up," as if you can't see right through it, allowing the contents if the store to be featured as a way to break up the monotony of glass (which doesn't exist because it's gd transparent).

My issue with that whole thing from them is that it shows they either don't on know or don't care about Apple's signature style for their flagships. They want them airy, few breaks to cast weird shadows etc. and given that its not a historic building issue like Grand Central etc it is just way over the top. Sure the flat wall I can understand, it's a tad ugly. Although Apple might have even planning to put up advertising or something. Perhaps require them to have a certain amount of trees put in that area with maybe a built in bench run, maybe even something to provide free wifi to the plaza.

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post #34 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by tarfungo View Post


I'm not sure anyone would notice.  San Francisco used to be a beautiful city.  Now it's just a toilet for pan handlers, criminals and ne'er-do-wells.   There's literally streets in down town San Francisco where the stench of urine and feces can be smelt a 1/2 block away. 

Got that in LA too. Govt won't pass laws to get homeless off streets. In fact some folks want to make it even more legal for them to loiter etc.

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post #35 of 65
Yes of course my first thought is go to another city, but I'm sure that apple could work this out, they have and are doing wonders.
post #36 of 65
I've never been or lived in San Francisco so has to the worst of the climate from summer to winter (Fog, Smog..).

The fountain in question should just be moved elsewhere but could be replaced with an
Aztec Fountain self-circulating, small streaming river situated behind with a bit of greenery
& some palms would give a cool-spot (watering hole) attracting certain insects to the flowers.
Bees, dragonfly, butterflies of course mosquitoes & dragonflies would not lay eggs for the moving water.

Since the Apple store will be fully open allowing sunshine all the way through this will give a reprieve to not only heat but noise from traffic around.

They should move that fountain and place it in front of the Mayors residence or his or her home, then I'm sure they'll
be glad they can keep a watchful eye on it's decay.
post #37 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

If you want to count a 70's eyesore as "historical" by all means.

I think it should be replaced with another '70's San Francisco icon, Dirty Harry with a Smith and Wesson 44 and a "Do you feel lucky, punk?" inscription.

Awesome, yeah they should do that.
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post #38 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Simple. Build a brushed concrete wall all the way around it and a brushed concrete floor over top of it, not touching it on any side. Then that floor becomes the design of the second story of the Apple Store.

Haha, I was thinking carbonite but your solution works.
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post #39 of 65
Wait a minute, this is almost all a complete lie. Some self-righteous, anti-Apple reporter at the SF Examiner did an op-ed on this Apple Store location proposal, and was the one that stated that the fountain was to be destroyed. There was another story however that had shown that this was absolutely NOT true! The way that the property is currently laid out, there is this weird angle of the Levi store's building. The proposed Apple store @ Union Square will be changing a significant portion of the location back to a large rectangular shape of course, but it does NOT go back far enough to affect the fountain in question. You can even look at the proposal submitted to the city manager's office and it shows the same. Now the one aspect that does ring true is that there will be a windowless wall on Stockton street. But the distance is not quite that long, and it's not just blank brick either. It should also be noted that according to the renderings it will also be obscured from most traffic by trees anyway!

In fact, here is a story from this very site showing you all of this:

http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/05/30/apples-new-union-square-store-will-not-even-reach-fountain-of-controversy

I certainly understand Apple wanting to work with communities and ensure that everyone is as happy as possible. However I also agree that if Apple doesn't get what they want here, especially since these are all lies anyway, Apple should just retract their proposals and wait for another time. Financially, San Francisco needs Apple a whole lot more than Apple needs this one location. And the mayor especially doesn't need to be labeled during his reelection about being "business unfriendly" with his opponents attacking him with killing jobs and millions in retail sales and tax revenue for the city. Which make no mistake, they will. And once another mayor takes office, one who is more friendly to Apple and business in general, he or she will get this pushed through and will get the Apple and the businesses that they bring into this location. They'll also beautify what has been a long-criticized area, and they'll reap all of the benefits that this spineless one could not.
post #40 of 65
Just relocate the fountain into the store.
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