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Foster + Partners

(Above) Imagined view of new stairs and a new Apple retail store on an expanded Riverwalk along the north bank of the Chicago River. In the distance, 401 North Michigan Avenue, University of Chicago’s Gleacher Center, and NBC Tower. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

Apple store design peeled to fit riverfront

24-Nov-15 – As daring a design as the planned Apple retail store near Pioneer Court will have, apparently it is toned down from the original concept.

42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly says he pulled the plug on a large video screen that would have faced the Chicago River.

“Although intended for educational and tutorial purposes,” said Reilly in his weekly newsletter, the proposed screen “was not appropriate or established by precedent, and violated the new Riverfront Design Guidelines adopted last year.”

Foster + Partners

(Above) View from Pioneer Court looking south with 401 North Michigan Avenue, formerly Equitable Building, at left.

Stairs will lead from a 14-foot-high glass enclosed entrance on the plaza of 401 North Michigan Avenue down to a 20,000 square foot concourse along the river, an area that is currently a vacant food court. The 91 x 71 foot store will have walls that rise 42 feet above the walkway along the north bank. The roof will be 20 feet above Pioneer Court.

Photo by Steven Dahlman The new stairs will replace curved concrete stairs (left) that currently lead down to the river from Michigan Avenue. There will also be an elevator.

Other changes included making the structure more transparent to not block the view of the river from Pioneer Court.

The store will absorb 1,100 square feet of space that is currently open but add 4,300 square feet of public space.

It is the vision of Foster + Partners, an architectural and design firm based in London. Their work in the United States includes the Art of the Americas Wing at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Winspear Opera House in Dallas, and Hearst Tower in New York.

Zeller Realty Group, owner of 401 North Michigan Avenue and Wrigley Building, owns the property. The area is where Chicago’s first permanent resident, Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable, built his cabin in 1790.

Foster + Partners

(Above) Reverse angle, from across Chicago River, looking north toward Tribune Tower.

 Presentation to Chicago Plan Commission