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Apple's 2nd Beijing store to use classic Chinese design (photos)

post #1 of 32
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An architect's portfolio has purportedly revealed a very different design Apple's second retail store for China's capital city -- one that would embrace ancient traditions while thriving on the Mac maker's signature glass and metal.

Shanghai-dwelling but American-born designer Benjamin Wood's portfolio shows several 3D renderings of the new Beijing location, which he describes as "in progress."

Noted by readers of ifo Apple Store the three-storey building on Qianmen Street would be dominated by very traditional Chinese architecture for its 100-foot length with historical roofing and dark wood supports; one end would be rounded off. In the middle, however, would be the glass facade now familiar with Apple's flagship stores as well as a prominent, hanging Apple logo.

Inside, the store would again be a mix of old and new with wood supports but Apple's distinctive spiral glass staircase and swaths of metal.

The location is reportedly scheduled to open as soon as this fall and would stand in stark opposition to the Sanlitun store. Where the Qianmen Street store would potentially open just a few blocks away from Tiananmen Square and would more likely have to conform to longstanding Chinese appearances, the Sanlitun building is located in a hyper-modern shopping district and abandons many of Apple's familiar rules for the shape and size of its retail outlets.

Renderings of the new store follow below.
post #2 of 32
I really like it, I tend to lean towards old architecture rather than new so this is a pleasent surprise.
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post #3 of 32
This is what went wrong - using American Born architect to design ??? Come on, there are plenty of local architects who can do a much better job.

Chinese architecture needs to be inert, the glass facade is like a open heart surgery, it is very rude. There is a Chinese design called Moon Gate, Apple should come up with an Apple Gate since its curvy shape already look like a full moon.
post #4 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulchsieh View Post

This is what went wrong - using American Born architect to design ??? Come on, there are plenty of local architects who can do a much better job.

Chinese architecture needs to be inert, the glass facade is like a open heart surgery, it is very rude. There is a Chinese design called Moon Gate, Apple should come up with an Apple Gate since its curvy shape already look like a full moon.

I agree. The photos make it look anything but organic. I can't imagine Jonathan Ive creating anything with this kind of rude gestalt.
post #5 of 32
that glass facade in the middle just stick out like a sore thumb. Why is apple doing this when China's major cities's skyscapers are western modern style, glass and steel. They should make the whole thing a glass cube. China unlike Chicago(?) is not force Apple's design to match its surroundings.
post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightstriker View Post

that glass facade in the middle just stick out like a sore thumb. Why is apple doing this when China's major cities's skyscapers are western modern style, glass and steel. They should make the whole thing a glass cube. China unlike Chicago(?) is not force Apple's design to match its surroundings.

The other store,..... is a glass box.

And with two stores you get .....errr fried rice?
post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulchsieh View Post

This is what went wrong - using American Born architect to design ??? Come on, there are plenty of local architects who can do a much better job.

Chinese architecture needs to be inert, the glass facade is like a open heart surgery, it is very rude. There is a Chinese design called Moon Gate, Apple should come up with an Apple Gate since its curvy shape already look like a full moon.

Absolutely!
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post #8 of 32
Freakin' Gorgeous.
post #9 of 32
We get the architecture we deserve....
post #10 of 32
this is why we pay a premium for Apple products...

The products themselves are not worth the money they ask for. You pay big bucks so they can have lavish stores.
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post #11 of 32
The rendering you are seeing here was rejected by the Chinese as it did not fit in the designs of the rest of the project. A new design is yet to be approved but it WILL NOT be a glass box. Not only do the Chinese officials and project managers need to sign off but Steve himself has to approve the final design as well. Word is that it will be very appropriate for the site and will be very different than any other Apple store.
post #12 of 32
This is a Disney version of Chinese architecture. Fortunately this is apparently not what they're going with.
post #13 of 32
This looks ok at first glance, but the more you look at it... YUK!

I mean, I love traditional Chinese architecture. But this? This is plain horrible.
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulchsieh View Post

This is what went wrong - using American Born architect to design ??? Come on, there are plenty of local architects who can do a much better job.

The guy is technically local as he's based out of Shanghai. Oh but wait, because he doesn't have Han blood he's no good right?
post #15 of 32
Appera!
post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulchsieh View Post

This is what went wrong - using American Born architect to design ??? Come on, there are plenty of local architects who can do a much better job.

Chinese architecture needs to be inert, the glass facade is like a open heart surgery, it is very rude. There is a Chinese design called Moon Gate, Apple should come up with an Apple Gate since its curvy shape already look like a full moon.

I am happy to see that the Californication of China is proceeding apace.
post #17 of 32
China has banned Twitter. Communism is looking pretty good right now.
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post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tauron View Post

I am happy to see that the Californication of China is proceeding apace.

You've not seen this for YEARS now? I have a close friend that is a practicing architect there, and he's from there. Chinese architecture is decades ahead of design here, simply because architecture in the US has stagnated to preserve styles from the colonial times, most modern design in this country comes from outside, I.M. Pei, Rem Koolhaus, Daniel Liebskin. We really only see Frank Gehry, and Morphosis as prominent Post-Modern designers in this country.

Look at pictures of Shanghai, (Hong Kong was under British control up til only recently, but most of the design there are indicative to the metropolitan areas of China). Don't assume the Great Wall is the only thing over there.
post #19 of 32
When was the last time and how often has genuinely traditional Chinese architecture been employed in new urban construction in China? The Cultural Revolution destroyed the traditional in the name of being revolutionary. Now that the errors of the Cultural Revolution have been accepted, the remnants are being destroyed in the name of efficiency and modernity. Mile upon mile of communist concrete blocks, thats China. This isnt to say that everything is conformist and bland. Public architecture (Olympic village, Shanghai skyline, etc) are very innovative, but not traditional. And can we even do traditional anymore without it coming off like the trite Disneylandification of the built environment that it is?
post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by roehlstation View Post

You've not seen this for YEARS now? I have a close friend that is a practicing architect there, and he's from there. Chinese architecture is decades ahead of design here, simply because architecture in the US has stagnated to preserve styles from the colonial times, most modern design in this country comes from outside, I.M. Pei, Rem Koolhaus, Daniel Liebskin. We really only see Frank Gehry, and Morphosis as prominent Post-Modern designers in this country.

Look at pictures of Shanghai, (Hong Kong was under British control up til only recently, but most of the design there are indicative to the metropolitan areas of China). Don't assume the Great Wall is the only thing over there.

You have to be kidding! Chinese architecture is decades ahead?! Is that why all the famous buildings of the Beijing Olympics were designed by westerners?!

There are many talented american modern (not post-modern, get your terms right) designers. The USA has not stagnated since colonial times. It would seem you are forgetting the birth of skyscrapers here among other things.

If you look at Shanghai, you will see the architectural rape of a city, It's a disaster not something to be proud of.

Don't quit your day job for that of an architectural critic.
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by macnyc View Post

You have to be kidding! Chinese architecture is decades ahead?! Is that why all the famous buildings of the Beijing Olympics were designed by westerners?!

There are many talented american modern (not post-modern, get your terms right) designers. The USA has not stagnated since colonial times. It would seem you are forgetting the birth of skyscrapers here among other things.

If you look at Shanghai, you will see the architectural rape of a city, It's a disaster not something to be proud of.

Don't quit your day job for that of an architectural critic.

Um, I don't claim to be an architectural critic, but:

http://images.google.com/images?rls=...N&hl=en&tab=wi

http://images.google.com/images?rls=...N&hl=en&tab=wi

I know which one looks cooler to me...

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post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimzip View Post

Um, I don't claim to be an architectural critic, but:

http://images.google.com/images?rls=...N&hl=en&tab=wi

http://images.google.com/images?rls=...N&hl=en&tab=wi

I know which one looks cooler to me...

Jimzip

I'm not sure if I understand. "which one looks cooler"? You have a webpage with random buildings from Shanghai and a webpage with random buildings in America. What is the comparison?

Besides, my comment on Shanghai had nothing to do with "cool" but of the massive destruction of entire parts of historical Shanghai for highways and skyscrapers. That's not so cool.
post #23 of 32
In addition to a better cultural response, I'd like to see something more climate-responsive than a glass box. That solar cooker is going to require huge amounts of A/C to keep habitable. Here's one "energy star" idea for a store...

Apple could take a page out of I.M. Pei's book and go subterranean, perhaps with a glass cube (instead of the Louvre's pyramid) as a lid. This would be both climate responsive and evocative of traditional farmer's cave homes found in the Shaanxi Province:
http://www.travelchinaguide.com/pict...xi/xian/caves/
post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by macnyc View Post

You have to be kidding! Chinese architecture is decades ahead?! Is that why all the famous buildings of the Beijing Olympics were designed by westerners?!

There are many talented american modern (not post-modern, get your terms right) designers. The USA has not stagnated since colonial times. It would seem you are forgetting the birth of skyscrapers here among other things.

If you look at Shanghai, you will see the architectural rape of a city, It's a disaster not something to be proud of.

Don't quit your day job for that of an architectural critic.

Perhaps it is you that need to get your terms right, Modern Architecture's period ended in the 1950-60 with the end of LeCourbusier, Gropius's Bauhaus, and Mies Van Der Rohe, some carried over further with Oscar Niemeyer, but after that the postmodern design picked up. Modern is more formal, and Postmodern contradicts that, Styles of Robert Venturi, Phillip Johnson, Frank Gehry, I.M. Pei (from China), A.M. Stern, Stephen Holl....etc. The swooping style you see from Morphosis, and Frank Gehry are considered Postmodern, certainly Taipei 101 is, (C.Y. Lee from China, Architect)

(This was all covered in my first year of Architectural History while I was in Architecture School)

The Bird's Nest may have been masterplanned by a swiss architect, the concept was by Ai Weiwei from China. And record drawings by a Chinese firm. All the smaller venues were designed in China by Chinese, including my friend in Hong Kong.

My day job....

Let's just say I've done drawings on projects by Michael Graves, Morphosis, Sasaki, and Zaha Hadid.
post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muncie View Post

In addition to a better cultural response, I'd like to see something more climate-responsive than a glass box. That solar cooker is going to require huge amounts of A/C to keep habitable. Here's one "energy star" idea for a store...

Apple could take a page out of I.M. Pei's book and go subterranean, perhaps with a glass cube (instead of the Louvre's pyramid) as a lid. This would be both climate responsive and evocative of traditional farmer's cave homes found in the Shaanxi Province:
http://www.travelchinaguide.com/pict...xi/xian/caves/

The 5th Avenue Store in NYC does this.
post #26 of 32
What if some Chinese company puts a BIG, RED, ten-story apple-shaped building with five star-shaped windows on it at DC downtown?
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by roehlstation View Post

Perhaps it is you that need to get your terms right, Modern Architecture's period ended in the 1950-60 with the end of LeCourbusier, Gropius's Bauhaus, and Mies Van Der Rohe, some carried over further with Oscar Niemeyer, but after that the postmodern design picked up. Modern is more formal, and Postmodern contradicts that, Styles of Robert Venturi, Phillip Johnson, Frank Gehry, I.M. Pei (from China), A.M. Stern, Stephen Holl....etc. The swooping style you see from Morphosis, and Frank Gehry are considered Postmodern, certainly Taipei 101 is, (C.Y. Lee from China, Architect)

(This was all covered in my first year of Architectural History while I was in Architecture School)

The Bird's Nest may have been masterplanned by a swiss architect, the concept was by Ai Weiwei from China. And record drawings by a Chinese firm. All the smaller venues were designed in China by Chinese, including my friend in Hong Kong.

My day job....

Let's just say I've done drawings on projects by Michael Graves, Morphosis, Sasaki, and Zaha Hadid.

It al depends on definitions of the terms used. For example you would have to state what period of Philip Johnson's career you are referring too. Frank Gehry is considered a deconstructivist, etc...

I'm not sure what school you went to, but if your history class clumped Robert Venturi & the rest together, that would be disconcerting at best. I hope in any case that they never referred to anything as being in a "swooping style"

The Bird's Nest was designed by Herzog & de Meuron, Ai Weiwei was a consultant only. It goes without saying that there was a chinese firm to do drawings. As I said I was referring to the famous buildings. Obviously they were going to use as many chinese architects as possible, which they did for the smaller venues.

I find it interesting that you do not address any of my issues with your post: your claim that chinese architects are decades ahead, the supposed stagnation of american architecture and stating that the Shanghai skyline is a positive while ignoring the destruction of historical parts of the city.

By the way, the point of you having been a draftsman for different firms would be?...
post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by macnyc View Post

It al depends on definitions of the terms used. For example you would have to state what period of Philip Johnson's career you are referring too. Frank Gehry is considered a deconstructivist, etc...

I'm not sure what school you went to, but if your history class clumped Robert Venturi & the rest together, that would be disconcerting at best. I hope in any case that they never referred to anything as being in a "swooping style"

The Bird's Nest was designed by Herzog & de Meuron, Ai Weiwei was a consultant only. It goes without saying that there was a chinese firm to do drawings. As I said I was referring to the famous buildings. Obviously they were going to use as many chinese architects as possible, which they did for the smaller venues.

I find it interesting that you do not address any of my issues with your post: your claim that chinese architects are decades ahead, the supposed stagnation of american architecture and stating that the Shanghai skyline is a positive while ignoring the destruction of historical parts of the city.

By the way, the point of you having been a draftsman for different firms would be?...

I didn't address your issues, because you miscontrued my point completely, I did not say Chinese Architects were decades ahead, I said Chinese Architecture is, meaning the Architecture in China, and what the people accept. The stagnation in this country is the fact that people seem to like to adhere to the look of Colonial Williamsburg when they develop new shopping centers, suburbs, and so forth. Real progressive design is not genuinely latched on to here, when it is more there. My point was to the previous poster talking about the "californication" of China, I had only pointed out that this has been going on for a long time now, China is not covered in Pagodas and that was my point, is this country covered in Gerogian Architecture? No, but if you look at the development in China, you will see a much larger concentration of the more progrssive architecture, that is why I am saying they are decades ahead.

Deconstuctivism is a subset of Postmodern. Technically we are both correct, but Modern is a much more specific style, where Postmodern is more broad. Just don't tell me that I was incorrect with my term.

I pointed out that I am a desgner for a firm that works with other prominent architects in that Architecture is my day job....Anyone can be a critic (I just choose to actually build buildings), as a designer I have to be a critic. Anyone can critique anything, it is just a matter of credbility.
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by roehlstation View Post

I didn't address your issues, because you miscontrued my point completely, I did not say Chinese Architects were decades ahead, I said Chinese Architecture is, meaning the Architecture in China, and what the people accept. The stagnation in this country is the fact that people seem to like to adhere to the look of Colonial Williamsburg when they develop new shopping centers, suburbs, and so forth. Real progressive design is not genuinely latched on to here, when it is more there. My point was to the previous poster talking about the "californication" of China, I had only pointed out that this has been going on for a long time now, China is not covered in Pagodas and that was my point, is this country covered in Gerogian Architecture? No, but if you look at the development in China, you will see a much larger concentration of the more progrssive architecture, that is why I am saying they are decades ahead.

I pointed out that I am a desgner for a firm that works with other prominent architects in that Architecture is my day job....Anyone can be a critic (I just choose to actually build buildings), as a designer I have to be a critic. Anyone can critique anything, it is just a matter of credbility.

I did not misconstrue your point as your point was not clear or very well thought out to begin with.

It would have made more sense for you to say architecture in China then given that many of the prominent buildings are not designed by chinese architects. If you really did mean architecture in China however, your comments about the Olympic architecture made no sense.

There has been progressive architecture here throughout the years. China until recently has only had old buildings and bad communist architecture so by definition they have been decades behind. Are they now decades ahead? Given the massive destruction of historical buildings and the poor, to say the least, urban planning, I'm not sure how you could quantify it that way. Look past the signature buildings and you will see a lot of really bad design.

I'm not sure what you do exactly, but as a design architect, I don't know of any prominent design firm that farms out their design work to other firms. So I'm not sure how you working for a firm that does work for design firms gives you credibility.
post #30 of 32
Most of the people posting here are clueless about Chinese architecture of past or present. First, China has some of the most architecturally modern cities in the world. Virtually every major architect of note in the world currently has, or has completed, projects here in China so hats off to the Chinese for looking to modernize their country with the best talent from around the world. (But shame on them for so easily abandoning the old, and even ignoring it.) Secondly, many Chinese buildings do in fact incorporate some traditional aspects of Chinese architecture into them. A perfect example of this is the absolutely stunning and magnificent Hyatt Regency in the Pudong district of Shanghai. There are many many other excellent examples.

As to what is truly "Chinese" architecture, the Chinese themselves are their own worst whores when it comes to this topic as most Chinese have very little sense of style, much less a willingness to cling to or respect the past. Many of the locally designed buildings are an abomination. So to locals, adding a glass box to a traditional design would not be perceived as out of the ordinary. As a matter of fact, they would prefer to throw in some garish chrome to the mix.

How do I know all this? I have been coming to China for the past 10 years and have studied the dramatic changes taking place, and just moved here for the next 2 - 3 years.
post #31 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muncie View Post

In addition to a better cultural response, I'd like to see something more climate-responsive than a glass box. That solar cooker is going to require huge amounts of A/C to keep habitable. Here's one "energy star" idea for a store...

Apple could take a page out of I.M. Pei's book and go subterranean, perhaps with a glass cube (instead of the Louvre's pyramid) as a lid. This would be both climate responsive and evocative of traditional farmer's cave homes found in the Shaanxi Province:
http://www.travelchinaguide.com/pict...xi/xian/caves/

There are many types of architectural glass that have very high energy efficiency ratings based on very sophisticated coatings.
post #32 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

Most of the people posting here are clueless about Chinese architecture of past or present. First, China has some of the most architecturally modern cities in the world. Virtually every major architect of note in the world currently has, or has completed, projects here in China so hats off to the Chinese for looking to modernize their country with the best talent from around the world. (But shame on them for so easily abandoning the old, and even ignoring it.) Secondly, many Chinese buildings do in fact incorporate some traditional aspects of Chinese architecture into them. A perfect example of this is the absolutely stunning and magnificent Hyatt Regency in the Pudong district of Shanghai. There are many many other excellent examples.

As to what is truly "Chinese" architecture, the Chinese themselves are their own worst whores when it comes to this topic as most Chinese have very little sense of style, much less a willingness to cling to or respect the past. Many of the locally designed buildings are an abomination. So to locals, adding a glass box to a traditional design would not be perceived as out of the ordinary. As a matter of fact, they would prefer to throw in some garish chrome to the mix.

How do I know all this? I have been coming to China for the past 10 years and have studied the dramatic changes taking place, and just moved here for the next 2 - 3 years.

All very true. Unfortunately most growth today is the result of developers who rarely have any sense of design. The only reason famous architects are selected is that the developers hope it will increase the value of their project, not because they truly appreciate the design.
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