After a rethink from Apple, Federation Square, the State Government and the City of Melbourne, a new design for the new Melbourne Apple Headquarters has been unveiled. Initially with the first design being described as a cross between a ‘Pizza Hut’ and a ‘Pagoda’ the new design is considered somewhat more neutral. A rectangular building with open verandahs overlooking the Yarra River and the Federation Square courtyard, it’s still somewhat controversial.
For comparison on opinions we offer three different press releases. First off is the press release from Federation Square itself.
Refined Apple Designs Signal a Re-imagined Fed Square
Refined designs of the Apple Global Flagship Store at Fed Square have been released today after a series of design workshops involving Fed Square Management, the Victorian Government, Melbourne City Council and Apple.
Part of a broader reimagining of Fed Square, which includes the new Digital Facade on the Transport Building and the new Melbourne Metro Train Station entrance, the Apple Global Flagship Store will create more than 500 square metres of new public space, provide outdoor shading, better connect the square to the Yarra River, deliver more cultural events and boost visitor numbers.
The refined designs complement Fed Square’s existing buildings and include a new roof design to allow for solar power as well as new solar shading design feature that enhances the energy efficiency of the building.
The addition of Apple to Fed Square’s existing tenants is expected to attract an additional two million additional people to Federation Square every year.
CEO of Federation Square Jonathan Tribe said the Apple Global Flagship Store is “consistent with Federations Square’s Civic and Cultural Charter, which recognises Melbourne’s pre-eminence as a centre for creativity and innovation.”
A daily program of free events – Today at Apple – will use local creative talent to run workshops and experiences showcasing local tech, design, art and education communities. The free program provided by Apple will help to inspire and educate Victorians of any age, cementing Melbourne as the nation’s cultural and tech capital.
The Apple Global Flagship Store in Fed Square reinforces Melbourne’s reputation as the undisputed tech capital of Australia.
For a more robust independent view, please consider this report from the ABC.
Apple reveals new design for Melbourne concept store at Federation Square after public backlash
Controversial plans to build a flagship Apple store at Melbourne’s Federation Square have been redesigned following criticism that the original draft was ugly and created without public consultation.
In December the Victorian Government revealed the three-story Yarra Building at Federation Square would be demolished to make way for the tech giant’s two-storey concept store.
There was a strong public backlash to the original plans, which featured a copper-coloured pagoda-style facade that some dubbed a ‘Pizza Hut pagoda’.
A new design has now been unveiled, transforming the building into a rectangle with a glass facade on the ground floor and a coloured mesh facade on the second floor.
It would include a publicly accessible balcony that overlooks the Yarra River, and an amphitheatre for public performances.
The chief executive of Federation Square, Jonathan Tribe, said the new design was “more sympathetic” to the style of the existing space.
“The original design was very much a concept plan and was always subject to refinement,” Mr Tribe said.
But the new design is already copping criticism.
The National Trust said while it was encouraging that Apple was open to redesigning the building “it did not respond to the fundamental concerns that were proposed about the demolition of a significant building”.
“The updated design has also been prepared without community consultation with its most important stakeholders — the people of Victoria,” chief executive of the National Trust Simon Ambrose said.
Community groups echoed that sentiment.
“We think Apple doesn’t fit in Federation Square,” Tania Davidge from Citizens for Melbourne said.
“Federation Square should be primarily based around people, not Apple products.”
But Mr Tribe said including the store at Federation Square would help bring “innovation and creativity” to the public space.
“[Apple] will run over 73 sessions a week around music, photography and art,” Mr Forbes said.
The latest plans will be submitted to the City of Melbourne for public consultation.
“I still think there is some tweaking to be done,” Mr Tribe said.
When the Government spruiked in the original plans, it said the development would attract an extra two million visitors a year to the area.
Work was to begin on the concept store next year and finish in 2020.
And finally here is an industry perspective from Architecture Au in an article by Linda Chen dated 20th July this year.
Federation Square Apple store redesigned
Federation Square has released refreshed designs of the proposed Apple flagship store, which have been significantly altered following workshops with Fed Square Management, the Victorian Government, the City of Melbourne and Apple.
The Victorian government’s initial decision to demolish the Yarra Building at Federation Square to make way for the Apple flagship store, designed by Foster and Partners, drew wide-spread backlash.
A number of concurrent petitions against Apple Fed Square plans on Change.org have collectively amassed nearly 100,000 signatures.
The City of Melbourne also received 800 submissions to a motion to call of the Victorian government to “commit to a significant redesign of the Apple Global Flagship Store at Federation Square.”
Karres and Brands, the original landscape architect for the square was also critical of the initial design. In a statement it said, “In our opinion the proposal for the Apple store does not fit in the characteristic design approach. Federation Square could have been the place for the most unique Apple Flagship store. A store that reflects Australian culture above brand image and is respectful of the city.”
However, the Apple flagship store had the support of Federation Square’s original architect Donald Bates of Lab Architecture Studio and the Victorian government architect Jill Garner.
The government formed a steering committee in February 2018 to supervise the design development of the new building “in response to the issues raised by the City of Melbourne.” The steering committee included representatives from the City of Melbourne, the Office of the Victorian Government Architect, Federation Square and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
The committee developed a set of guidelines for the refinement of the design, including that it should acknowledge and respond to the design cues of the existing Federation Square context, including references to its non-orthogonal planning, geometry, layered and varied facade and bespoke materiality.
In a statement following the release of the refreshed design, Federation Square said, “The refined designs complement Fed Square’s existing buildings and include a new roof design to allow for solar power as well as new solar shading design feature that enhances the energy efficiency of the building.”
However, the National Trust of Australia (Victoria)’s CEO Simon Ambrose was critical of the redesign. “While it is encouraging to see Apple is open to redesigning its Federation Square store, it does not respond to the fundamental concerns that were proposed earlier about the demolition of a significant building in our city’s town square,” he said.
The Citizens for Melbourne group, which formed in reaction action the Apple store proposal for Federation Square, described the refreshed proposal as “a big iPad.“The redesign of the Apple store at Fed Square doesn’t address the key problem with the proposal: the complete disregard for the Victorian people in shaping our public square,” said president Tania Davidge. “Victorians would not support a giant iPad in the Botanic Gardens or at the National Gallery of Victoria. Why does the Government think that Victorians would be happy to sell out what makes Melbourne great?”
From our perspective, it would appear Apple still has some work to do in creating a design application that is sympathetic to the actual architecture and design of the existing award winning Federation Square precinct design. But we leave it for the public to decide. Does the design work? Or is something more required? Considering the National Trust is prepared to act upon a building and outdoor complex barely 16 years old, it’s reasonable to assume that the current vista is world class and an extraordinary feature of our great city.
Let’s hope there is an elegant and ultimately tasteful compromise.