[Update: Apple has explained they do have a heated roof. Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune reports:
“The roof has a warming system that’s built into it,” Apple spokesman Nick Leahy said. “It needed some fine-tuning and it got re-programmed today. It’s hopefully a temporary problem.”
So I take back that this is a design flaw. This is just a minor tweak that Apple is adjusting. For the archive, the original blog post is below]
Apple’s newest flagship store in Chicago opened with much critical acclaim for its design. Instead of being just a commercial space, Apple is using a “Town Square” store approach. Each store, like this flagship, will now be a community hub. How delightful! Right? Even the materials are amazing. The store’s walls are wraparound glass with an an ultra-thin carbon fiber roof in the recognizable shape of a Macbook cover.
Although the fancy roof has a problem. The edges of the roof slope down without any gutters to catch the melting snow. Pedestrians under the roof will get attacked by sliding snow.
Since this store is a community hub, people are supposed to gather around the store and delight in their Apple products. But now they’ll get hit by falling icicles!
Apple had to rope off their outside community area, so nobody will get killed by the fancy sloping roof of their Town Square store. Sorry! This area of the town is off limits–too dangerous!
Maybe next time Apple will consider the actual community where their stores are built. Y’know, basic things like in Chicago, the weather gets cold. It snows. The snow falls off the roof. Don’t design a sloping roof where the snow can’t be caught or guttered off somewhere. (technically, Apple itself didn’t engineer the roof. It was an engineering company. 9to5mac user “Kiwi” explains.)
This has been blogged by Daring Fireball. Which then touched off a bunch of fun tweets:
Yeah, I’m taking a jab at Apple. I think that’s allowed. But really, this is just a fun observation I had during my morning commute. I work in the Tribune Tower next door to this Apple store. I enjoy their outdoor seating area. Granted, in the one-degree weather today, I wasn’t sitting on the stairs. But when I see the stairs were roped off, that was very curious, so this was of personal interest to me. That’s reason one for me blogging about this. Personal interest–which by the way, I photographed the store with my iPhone (an iPhone 5S, that does not have iOS11 installed).
Reason two: Apple brags about the design and functionality of their ultra-thin carbon roof, which now a bit busted, because it forces Apple to rope off areas of their plaza. Many people rightfully pointed out that this happens all over Chicago in the winter. Many downtown buildings put up signs saying “Watch for falling snow and ice.” But not that many rope off large sections of the building. Most buildings put signs. Some may rope off a small area, but not as large as the area Apple was blocking. And it wasn’t even Apple roping off the area, it’s Zeller Realty Group that found the area unsafe. I’m assuming Apple didn’t have the control over these signs and ropes.
Reason three: Well, this one is stated in the blog post. Apple wants this flagship store to be a community area, and now the area is roped off. Just ironic. Yes, nobody is using the space in one-degree weather. But you have to admire the irony that the Apple design is prohibiting their expressed goal with the building.