The new Apple store and adjoining public plaza are located in Shanghai’s Pudong commercial district. The store sits in a sunken court below the plaza and is indicated by a forty-two foot high glass entrance pavilion located at the plaza’s center. The plaza is surrounded by a park-like area of landscape elements and walkways at street level, and serves multiple purposes: it is a significant public space in the midst of a busy city center, a primary entrance to Sun Hung Kai’s IFC Mall and the city subway system, and a harmonious backdrop to the Apple store entrance pavilion.
The store and plaza stand opposite the iconic Pearl Tower, across a busy intersection of several arterial motorways. While in conceptual design, the project team was familiarized with the government’s plans for constructing a large, elevated circular walkway over the intersection to transform the pedestrian experience in time for the 2010 Shanghai Exposition. We modified the plaza’s design to create a civic landmark connected both thematically and experientially to the larger regional context. During design, our team and the land use developer coordinated regularly with public agencies to coordinate subway system approaches, elevated walkways and adjacent public streetscapes.
The monumental stone steps align the cylindrical store entrance with the axis of the Pearl Tower. This dramatic descent draws visitors to a calm and intimate space. The pavilion is assembled entirely of structural glass with stainless steel attachment fittings. A reflecting pool surrounding the pavilion blurs the boundary between the stone’s solidity and the cylinder’s transparency. Visitors are intrigued, venturing down the plaza’s stairs to look down through the cylinder and into the store. Natural light floods the subterranean store, which opens up to an expansive space with minimal and refined detailing.