Earlier this summer we reviewed plans for a new Foster + Partners-designed Apple Store in the heart of San Francisco which received a considerable amount of backlash for its accused ubiquitous design that disregarded the city's historic Ruth Asawa Fountain. Since, Apple has decided to respond to the complaints and Foster + Partners have just released images of the revised design that preserves the fountain.
Asawa's 1973 fountain currently stands as the centerpiece of a long, sloped plaza along Stockton Street between the Grand Hyatt San Francisco hotel tower and the existing triangular retail building that faces Union Square. In the revised design, the fountain will be moved only a few feet and will stand amid steps leading between the back of the Apple Store and the side of the Hyatt.
"The mayor is glad that Planning and Apple went through the process and found a way to keep the fountain in almost its exact current location," said SF Mayor Lee's director of communications. "People will find it there for generations to come, and he's happy about that."
For the Japanese American sculptor Asawa - who passed away this month at 87 - and her fans, the preservation of the historic fountain is a triumph. Others, however, are more interested in the architectural changes Foster + Partners have made to their store design.
According to an Apple spokesperson, the latest design includes more natural light. Instead of Stockton Street being walled off by 80 feet of steel panels that are more than 20 feet high, the design now includes an 8-foot-wide glass "window" that will be notched deep into the wall and extend all the way from the floor to the roof. This will create a skylight for the retail space below. To create a more provocative facade on the Post Street side of the building, the solid glass wall has been pulled back a few feet from the outer metal frame, allowing for more shadows and depth in the building.
While the building remains a clear celebration of Apple and its trademark, it's a comfort to many to see a part of traditional San Francisco be preserved.
Read our previous coverage here.