Flap over fountain forces San Francisco mayor to reconsider Apple Store plans

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2014
Apple's plans to move its flagship San Francisco retail outlet may have hit a slight bump, as the city's mayor has said that he'd like to reconsider the plan for the store after critics asserted that its construction would call for the removal of a local landmark.

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San Francisco mayor Ed Lee said on Thursday that he hadn't previously realized that Apple's proposed Union Square store would call for the removal of a 40-year-old fountain in the plaza behind the store, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The mayor has indicated that he plans to visit the plaza again in order to see if the fountain can coexist with Apple's new store.

"We weren't necessarily focused on that side," Lee said of the Stockton Street plaza where the fountain is. Lee says he will need to "take a look and visualize" how the fountain would work with Apple's proposed raised, narrow plaza between its store and the Grand Hyatt.

Also at issue, the 80-foot blank wall along Stockton Street that makes up the Apple Store's rear facade. The blank wall goes against San Francisco's emphasis on street-level experience, as the critic who first pointed out the plan's impact on the fountain also noted.

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On Tuesday, Chronicle design critic John King drew attention to the fountain issue and criticized the design of the store. Calling the Foster + Partners-designed space "a box that would look at home in Anymall, U.S.A.," King pointed out that Apple's plans for the plaza would also displace a bronze fountain that has been in the plaza for 40 years.

The fountain, designed by Ruth Asawa, displays a map of San Francisco done in stylized relief form. King, contrasting the fountain with the "Anymall" look of the proposed Apple Store, said that the fountain "could exist nowhere else but here."

Apple revealed its plans to relocate its flagship store from Stockton and Ellis to Union Square earlier this month. The new location will be 45 percent larger than the current flagship store.

Apple has not yet commented on Mayor Lee's remarks. The Grand Hyatt Hotel, which owns the plaza and the fountain, says it's too premature to address any potential changes to Apple's proposal.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 69
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    SF must be the greatest city in America if "take a look at a fountain" makes it onto the major's agenda.

    (Especially an ugly one like that. They're acting like it's 240 years old rather than 40. Wow, 1973 was such a historic year.)
  • Reply 2 of 69
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,603member
    A classic case of "Squeaky wheel gets the grease", it seems to me. Maybe they will incorporate the monstrosity into Apple's design. It would look nice built into an all class staircase... not.
  • Reply 3 of 69
    citycity Posts: 522member
    Put the fountain in the store.
  • Reply 4 of 69
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    Just have someone, anyone, see a 'vague' remote looking Cross silhouette amongst all those other carvings and that thing is out of there, faster then you can say Al Michaels, 1980 Olympic Hockey Commentator of US Victory over the USSR, 'Do You Believe In Miracles'!
    /
    /
  • Reply 5 of 69
    jakebjakeb Posts: 557member
    I don't live in SF. Is this really a beloved fountain? It seems odd that nobody noticed it would be gone until now.
  • Reply 6 of 69
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,223member


    SF can be truly laughable sometimes. They can't help themselves.


     


    What an atrocious, grating piece of 'art.'

  • Reply 7 of 69
    Caving to a vocal special interest. Yup, that's government.
  • Reply 8 of 69
    Just because something is old does not make it worth saving. Especially a fountain that is absolutely butt ugly! I'm sure that the new Apple store will be spectacular. The fountain should be trashed and sent to the junk heap where it belongs.
  • Reply 9 of 69
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,580member


    The fountain is part of SF, if the citizens want to preserve it, Apple should either design around it or find another location.

  • Reply 10 of 69
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,525member
    anonymouse wrote: »
    The fountain is part of SF, if the citizens want to preserve it, Apple should either design around it or find another location.

    I say move it to The 'Stick.
  • Reply 11 of 69
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 689member
    i'm so sick of san francisco politics.

    the fountain is an eyesore.
    it's not even facing union square. in fact, it's a half block away, facing other retail.
    it's nothing. certainly not worth the attention it's getting.
  • Reply 12 of 69
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 689member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by quinney View Post





    I say move it to The 'Stick.


    ha! the perfect solution!

  • Reply 13 of 69
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 689member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    The fountain is part of SF, if the citizens want to preserve it, Apple should either design around it or find another location.



    citizens? you're under the misperception that there is an overwhelming majority that wants to keep this fountain, when i think it's probably only just a handful. i certainly don't think it's worth stopping plans for apple's flagship store. makes no sense whatsoever.

  • Reply 14 of 69
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    SF can be truly laughable sometimes. They can't help themselves.


     


    What an atrocious, grating piece of 'art.'



     


    No offence, but you clearly know little about what constitutes "good art."


     


    Hint: "Art" has almost nothing to do with physical beauty or attractiveness (even though personally I find this quite a nice looking piece as I'm sure others do as well).  


     


    Also, even if this wasn't "art" by anyone's definition, it's still an important city landmark and a piece of the city's history.  It has as much right to be preserved as any public art.  Certainly more so than many heritage buildings, signs, etc.


     


    People should basically just stop with the "it's ugly" or "it's not art" comments because it's completely irrelevant anyway.  

  • Reply 15 of 69
    The fountain is ugly but so is the blank wall.
  • Reply 16 of 69
    boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 986member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    Caving to a vocal special interest. Yup, that's government.


    Exactly, shame on Apple. Oh... or did you mean that other special interest? Funny how that works.


     


    That said...IMO -  that fountain should have 'significant historical ties' to SF to keep it(commemorating the great quake or something)... otherwise sell/move it. (granted I do not know the history of that fountain, so speaking from my arse a bit :) )


     


    Let Jony Ives design a new one. One could say having an 'Apple Fountain or Steve Jobs Memorial Fountain' would be more historically justified based on Steve Jobs, silicon valley etc etc then a bronze map


     


    As to the 'design critic'... A lot design is 'fadish' or based on 'taste' (IMO - including Apple Stores)... chill out.

  • Reply 17 of 69
    markbritonmarkbriton Posts: 116member
    malax wrote: »
    SF must be the greatest city in America if "take a look at a fountain" makes it onto the major's agenda.

    (Especially an ugly one like that. They're acting like it's 240 years old rather than 40. Wow, 1973 was such a historic year.)

    I had to read that again, it's only FORTY years old! Not much older than me! I don't really understand what the fuss is about. If the fountain was erected to mark a particular event or person as a memorial then fair enough, but it seems like a fairly dull fountain. And surely an Apple Store in keeping with Apple's design philosophy is perfectly suited to San Francisco of all places, a piece of architecture that will be meaningful for many people for many years to come.
  • Reply 18 of 69
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by malax View Post



    Wow, 1973 was such a historic year.


    End of the Vietnam war was sort of a big deal, but then you were probably not around at the time, were you? 

  • Reply 19 of 69
    markbritonmarkbriton Posts: 116member
    gazoobee wrote: »
    No offence, but you clearly know little about what constitutes "good art."

    Hint: "Art" has almost nothing to do with physical beauty or attractiveness (even though personally I find this quite a nice looking piece as I'm sure others do as well).  

    Also, even if this wasn't "art" by anyone's definition, it's still an important city landmark and a piece of the city's history.  It has as much right to be preserved as any public art.  Certainly more so than many heritage buildings, signs, etc.

    People should basically just stop with the "it's ugly" or "it's not art" comments because it's completely irrelevant anyway.  

    Just out of interest, does the US have an equivalent to English Heritage? Over here I imagine it would go to them to consult and decide. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Heritage
  • Reply 20 of 69
    boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 986member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mac_dog View Post


    citizens? you're under the misperception that there is an overwhelming majority that wants to keep this fountain, when i think it's probably only just a handful. i certainly don't think it's worth stopping plans for apple's flagship store. makes no sense whatsoever.



    Both of you don't know what the local people want.


    Makes perfect sense if its a local landmark the local people there want (no accounting for taste!)

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