Apple Store, Boylston Street is a commercial retail building characterized by architectural heterogeneity unique to Boston’s relatively homogenous Back Bay Historic District—in turn, the design of the building responds to the duality of this streetscape. On one hand, the building’s architectural elements reference the general character and scale of the surrounding historical building fabric. On the other hand, these elements are executed by means of innovative laminated glass and bead-blasted stainless steel building assemblies, reflecting the imaginative spirit of Apple.
The building’s most distinguishing feature is its glass façade—an innovative assembly composed of laminated glass fins supporting a taut, low-iron glass skin by means of polished stainless steel fittings. The entire assembly is hung from the building’s steel framework at roof level, thereby “lifting” the façade, allowing for unobstructed views through the storefront at street level. A second building layer set back from the glass façade is with expressed slab edges and piers clad in bead-blasted stainless steel panels. Because of the high degree of transparency, which can be achieved through the use of low-iron glass, the design intent is to reveal the new building’s tripartite configuration and slab-and-column construction.
One enters through the glass storefront and into a narrow, triple-height slot of space separating the façade from the retail areas be¬yond. At the center of the store, an expansive triple-height atrium features a dramatic three-story circular glass staircase. Daylight spills into the space’s core through the central atrium’s skylight. The transparency of the glass stair and cantilevered glass guardrails allow virtually unobstructed views up through the skylight, offering glimpses of the urban skyline beyond.