Apple Michigan Avenue

Structural Designer

Foster + Partners and Simpson Gumpertz and Heger

Client Name

Apple, Inc.

Location

Chicago, United States of America

PRINCIPAL CONTRACTOR
Power Construction Company (PCC), Chicago

ARCHITECT
Foster + Partners

INTEGRATED DESIGN TEAM
Foster + Partners, London & New York

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER OF RECORD
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SGH), Chicago

FAÇADE CONSULTANT
Eckersley O’Callaghan

CFRP ROOF FABRICATOR 
Premier Composite Technology, Dubai

STRUCTURAL STEEL FABRICATOR
Zalk Josephs, Wisconsin

FAÇADE FABRICATOR
Frener Reifer, Augsburg, Germany

MECHANICAL ENGINEERS OF RECORD
Cosentini Associates, Chicago

CONCRETE SUBCONTRACTOR
Cerami Construction Company, Illinois

SITE IMPROVEMENTS ARCHITECT (OUTSIDE STORE FOOTPRINT)
Ross Barney Architects (RBA), Chicago

SITE IMPROVEMENTS STRUCTURAL ENGINEER OF RECORD (OUTSIDE STORE FOOTPRINT)
Thornton Tomasetti, Chicago

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

A new retail store featuring an exceptionally thin carbon fibre roof (1m deep x 33.7m x 29.8m in plan) supported on four columns. A structural steel roof frame supports the carbon fibre roof which together cantilever 8.3m to the south, 9.3m to the east and west, and 6.3m to the north. The store is split over two levels level with an interior tapering mezzanine balcony flanked by grand stairs to either side, creating a stunning central volume. The design is truly integrated, combining structural engineering with the other core design disciplines and specialist fabricators to achieve a visionary client’s aspirations.

Judge's comment:

The Michigan Avenue Apple store demonstrates the positive impact that well-coordinated structural design can have on public spaces. This glass-wrapped building, with minimal internal structure, ensures that views from the public plaza down to the riverside remain despite the size and position of this new building.

Inside, the design team have created a seemingly simple column-free sales area housed directly under the existing public plaza - a feat that required large-scale steel strengthening to replace the eight existing columns that were previously supporting the plaza. The well-integrated construction-focused solution was for the use of pairs of steel beams installed to either side of each column, prior to demolition. This maintained the plaza’s existing load paths and minimised the amount of temporary propping required to achieve the clean architectural vision for the space.

Large-scale fabricated torsion boxes have been used throughout the structure to great effect, both in the roof where they create space for integrated services distribution, and for the internal mezzanine that cantilevers over the sales space below, lengthening the apparent extent of the plaza above, and so further enhancing the public realm space.