Error message

Warning: array_flip(): Can only flip STRING and INTEGER values! in EntityAPIController->load() (line 219 of /srv/www/drupal7/sites/all/modules/entity/includes/entity.controller.inc).

Apple's "Refined" design for Fed Square unveiled

Apple's "Refined" design for Fed Square unveiled
Apple's "Refined" design for Fed Square unveiled

Fed Square has today released images of a "refined" design for the Apple Global Flagship Store set to be located within the Square, on the site of the current Yarra Building.

The new design is the result of a series of design workshops involving Fed Square Management, the Victorian Government, Melbourne City Council and Apple.

As part of the development, the Apple will provide more than 500 sqm of new public space, outdoor shading, improved connections between the Square and the Yarra River, and will allow for the delivery of more cultural events in addition to boosting visitor numbers - estimated to be an additional two million additional people to Federation Square every year.

According to Fed Square management, the refined design complements Fed Square’s existing buildings and will include a roof design which not only harnesses solar power but also provides solar shading which will enhance the energy efficiency of the building.

'Today at Apple' will be a daily program of free events, using local creative talent to run educational workshops and experiences showcasing local tech, design, art and education communities. 

Apple's
Apple's refined design for its Flagship Store. Image: Federation Square

(An 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.

- Jonathan Tribe, CEO of Federation Square

Other projects currently underway or set to commence within Fed Square include a new Digital Facade on the Transport Building and the new station entry for Town Hall Station, which replaces the current Visitor Info Centre on the north-west corner. 

Comment

Since the project was first mooted healthy public debate has raged regarding the appropriateness of a private entity such as Apple occupying what is essentially public space, albeit a portion of public space which is largely internalised and currently accommodated within the Yarra Building. 

From a business case point of view, the economics of Apple setting up in Fed Square are best left for someone more knowledgeable than I but I imagine the footfall from Flinders Street Station, the tram stop along Swanston Street and in 7 years time from Town Hall Station, and the prominence of the building's location and visibility both from within the Square itself and from the river were attractive propositions.

As for the design itself, the first iteration released to the public which was dubbed 'the pagoda' due to its roof line.  It provided no real dialogue between the architecture of the existing buildings and appeared as if an alien space ship had landed in the square. 

The latest incarnation takes a more restrained approach with both Prof. Don Bates (LAB Architecture) and the Office of the Victorian Government Architect's (OVGA) Jill Garner having worked to help refine the design. An Apple Flagship store draws attention to itself for the simple fact that it's an Apple store, no ornament or dramatic architecture is required. 

For mine, what is most significant is the improved connections the design and siting provide between the Square and the Yarra.  In addition to the increase in the amount of public open space due to the smaller building footprint - which represents a public benefit - it is not only adding additional open space to the square but also a different type with sloping green verges and additional trees. 

I think the provision of additional open space far outweighs the fact that Apple is building a store within the Square which is a public space. It is replacing an existing building which was added late in the design process of Fed Square and not part of the original plans, and within a much more compact footprint.

Apple's
Current projects within Fed Square.

It's worth considering Fed Square was always going to evolve. Prof. Bates himself has previously recognised the Square's design has a number of shortcomings which couldn't be addressed within the budget and scope at the time it was designed. I'm however, of the opinion that prior to any significant works being undertaken within the Square, be they cosmetic, a Metro Station or an Apple Store, they should be guided by a set of principles set out in a considered and cohesive Master Plan for the Square which includes appropriate choices of materials, key vistas, desire lines etc.

Finally, the process needs to be transparent, so that due process is followed through the town planning process in the same way any other private entity would be required and allowing for the general public to have their say, whether in support or in objection.

- Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S8

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir is one of the co-founders of Urban Melbourne. Laurence has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in both the private and public sector specialising in architecture, urban design and planning. He also has a keen interest in the built environment, cities and Star Wars.

Tags: 
Apple Flagship Global Store Federation Square

Comments (13)

Help contribute to the Urban community by leaving your comments about this article
What would you like to say about this project?
johnproctor
Some good considered comments here. I tend to agree with the Boy Noodle and Adrian. I have seen a couple of comments here and Twitter re: "opening up to the river" claim as a benefit of Apple. These people seem to be using that as a front for their outrage against the idea of Apple being in the square. For the last 10 years Federation Square have been looking at ways to open the Square better to the River both visually and physically. When I say physically I mean the 'promenade' along Princes Walk behind the bluestone wall down to Birrarung Marr and the River. The current link is a 6m wide flight of 23 stairs. The Square and its buildings turning its back to the river is easily the biggest failing of the square, and the late addition of the Yarra Building (driven in part by a preference for more commercial space) is a large driver of that as its 50m frontage to Princes Walk literally blocks visual and physical access to the river and throws shade over Princes Walk. Here it is in its horrendous glory as a pedestrian there: https://www.google.com/maps/@-37.8185484,144.9693441,2a,75y,352.31h,87.31t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sUYWYppK3KiiL-Yhizr3_oQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656 Fixing that currently non existant relationship between Federation Square and Princes Walk is the key benefit of this design and tinkering with the Yarra Building wasn't going to deliver that. It really opens up the opportunity for Federation Square to have much more integrated events between Fed Square, Princes Walk and Birrarung Marr. In terms of the design itself. It isn't amazing but I tend to think that it will prove better than it looks thanks to the quality of finishes and the need for the human scale elements to match back into the surrounding fed square (eg. sand stone plaza carry into the store threshold). I also think the relatively plain design will help to let the rest of the square shine. It will really open up views to the largley hidden Deakin Edge building (which will probably benefit both the internal feel of that space and the external views) and also the crossbar (which is less interesting than the Edge opportunity).
Helpful
(0)
Not helpful
(0)
Reply

Reply to this comment

What would you like to respond to this comment?
pdoff
In my view the symbolism of Fed Square is being lost in this debate and that's why I'm against Apple being there. It's what the space means to the people and the city that matters and Apple has no more entitlement to be there than the MCG, Royal Botanical Gardens or the Eiffel-freakin-Tower. The message we send to visitors about how treasured our icons are should be more important than bringing more people to the square. Those same people can go to St Collins Lane which, from what I hear, needs foot-traffic more than Fed Square does. This need for more people hasn't been demonstrated and I don't understand why this is receiving such importance. Apple is very different to a 7-11, cafes, bars and restaurants, which by their nature are meeting places that complement the purpose of a public square. Not all private enterprises fit that category and particularly not ones that exist for no other reason but to trumpet their brand and push their products. These retailers belong in shopping centers. 7-11 pushes the boundaries but what sort of square would deprive patrons of the basic needs items that 7-11 sells? If the Yarra building is flawed, under-utilised or obstructs access to the river then fix it. A dignified prosperous city shouldn't need to rely on private money or the attraction of its brand to achieve this.
Helpful
(0)
Not helpful
(0)
Reply

Reply to this comment

What would you like to respond to this comment?
Decatur
Adam, you might rant and rave about things like this. But ultimately Melbourne, like other fast growing cities, will evolve with or without you. May I suggest a more constructive approach might be to acknowledge that in a liberal democracy and free market economy, the private sector contributes a good proportion of the capital. Yes, private capital is about making profits and Apple is no different. But by having Government (in this case the City of Melbourne) negotiate a satisfactory outcome for the public, we achieve an optimal outcome. Not a winner takes all outcome, but a fair and balanced outcome for commercial interests and Melbourne's urban fabric. Just something to consider. The architectural merit I'll leave to others more qualified.
Helpful
(0)
Not helpful
(0)
Reply

Reply to this comment

What would you like to respond to this comment?
Laurence Dragomir's picture
I generally agree with both Adrian and TBN, however it's worth noting that although the tessellated pin wheel facade is the most prominent and generally what most people associate with the architecture of Fed Square, other elements such as the Visitor Info Centre, Transport, the Eastern Shard and the Crossbar (SBS) add a bit of visual diversity. So I don't think it necessarily has to fit in with the existing style - hence my comment about a material palette for any future buildings works - imitation doesn't equate good architecture whether its ancient or more recent heritage. In saying that I don't think the design of Apple is anything special, but what makes Fed Square a successful public space is the arrangement of the buildings surrounding the space and their relationship and engagement with it. From day one the Square's architecture has been a point of contention, and debate. It could be argued Apple's store is in keeping with this theme. Agree or disagree with the notion of an Apple Store at Fed Square, at the very least it's leading to healthy discussion about the built environment from the general public. Which is very much what Fed Square is there to promote. As for Adam. That's not true. The same materials are applied to the other buildings. The architects always said the Yarra Building was added late in the piece. Your comment about opening up the Yarra, umm connections can exist or can be created both in a physical or and visual sense. And the intent is to 'IMPROVE' connections. Do you actually read articles in their entirety or just selectively read what you're most outraged about?
Helpful
(0)
Not helpful
(0)
Reply

Reply to this comment

What would you like to respond to this comment?
Adrian's picture
I'm on the same page as THEBOYNOODLE on this one .. I don't actually oppose Apple being in Fed Sq (even tho a store at revamped City Square over the new Town Hall station would be a *much* better location) and I like the look of additional public space not to mention better accessibility & views from the balcony of the new building .. https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/assets-fedsquare/uploads/2018/07/2457_Melbourne_DC33_Balcony_D-599x400.jpg In the 16 years since it opened the Yarra Building is the only one I have never been inside - while it does help close in the space and compliments the other buildings architecturally - functionally it adds nothing to the square and does block the path down towards Birrarung Mar - which this new building appears to achieve very well from the overhead shot. I am just like most others still appalled at the actual design of the new building - it is completely at odds with the famous Fed Sq architecture that all the other buildings have - why they couldn't have gone a bit further to blend it with the existing structures is beyond me. And yes that new Metro Station entrance looks to be equally at odds with existing mini-shard ..
Helpful
(0)
Not helpful
(0)
Reply

Reply to this comment

What would you like to respond to this comment?

Pages