So Was is it Worth the Wait?

So here it is, after all that hullabaloo, the Apple Store is finally open. Now that the crowds have died down a bit, we can go in and judge how it all came together and compare the results back to plans.

First the exterior:

Here’s the exterior. As demanded by the Old Georgetown Board, the exterior seems to melt in with the Victorian commercial buildings around it. If you didn’t know it was built in 2010, you’d be excused for thinking it was built in the 1880s.

The sticking point over the designs (before Apple went off the deep end) was the void created by the wall of windows. Apple compromised by adding metal strappings to break up the glass. Here’s what their original plans were like:

The Apple store design approved by Georgetown's architectural review board.

As you can see, they stuck pretty closely to the approved exterior designs. The cornice and two raised brick courses are perhaps a little less prominent in the actual building, but they look basically the same.

The interior is what really surprised GM:

It’s just so much more spacious than GM expected. It’s a huge space, which appears larger for having such a modest facade. While the atrium and back space are elegant, the vastness of the center section actually gives the store a bit of an industrial warehouse sort of feeling, but not in a good way.

Speaking of the atrium, it’s a beautiful space:

As you walk into the building, the double story facade opens up to a huge atrium of light. It’s really quite a nice transition from the (faux) historical exterior to the stark modern interior.

As GM said, the main part of the space is a bit of a let down, but the skylights return in a big way at the back of the store:

Not having purchased an Apple computer before, GM’s not sure what this back space is supposed to be used for, but it’s a remarkably stark and peaceful space in a vast room filled with so much commotion. It’s a space that belongs in a library, not an electronics store.

The one disappointment of this back area? We were promised trees:

Another disappointment is the failure of Apple to build a second floor. Yes, the atrium would have cut off the floor from the front facade, but with a healthy dose of more skylights, a usable space could have been constructed above the store. This could have provided great office space to the community (surely some design or architectural firms would love to sit on top of an Apple Store).

So what do you think?



Filed under Retail

2 responses to “So Was is it Worth the Wait?

  1. A very nice addition to the merchant mix on Wisconsin. Too bad the old Olsson’s record & book store next door is vacant, as is the building next to that. But maybe the opening of Apple will inspire good merchants to lease the spaces. The Apple store interior is marvelous…….and the staff is very friendly and astute and knowledgeable.

  2. Nick J

    I really dislike the center “warehouse” portion… it feels very bland and industrial,as you note, in the bad way.

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