Apple’s proposed flagship store at Melbourne’s Federation Square drew intense criticism when announced by the Victorian government back in 2017. Concerns over a largely government funded public space holding an extremely commercial retail enterprise did not sit well with many individuals. Nor did its design, which when announced, looked more akin to an 80’s style Pizza Hut restaurant than the architectural glamour and refurbishment normally associated with Apple’s retail arm.
A year and a half later and the store appears to be continuing with further planning documents submitted for the demolition of the existing structure and the Victorian Heritage Council hearing the case and impact of doing so. As a part of this new phase they’re open for public comment ahead of their hearing and are available on the council’s website for viewing.
The building has been completely redefined with the pagoda style facade replace by Apple’s customary glass walls. The store now more closely resembles another of Apple’s six flagship stores in the Manhattan based Apple “cube” store. The building is also to remain a four storey structure however its footprint has been reduced allowing for more public traffic and space to surround it.
The new design also incorporates large double storey sliding metal panels that will be used to shelter the store from its prominent east & west facing sides. These metal shields will help alleviate a great deal of the harsh sun the store is destined to bare as it will have little surrounding it for protection at that height.
Remaining from the original plans is the surrounding balcony, which will allow visitors an uninterrupted view of the Yarra River, the opposing Alexandra Gardens and Melbourne’s Southbank precinct.
Heavy opposition for the venture remains with a new fake crowdfunding campaign created to buy the estimated A$40m site proposed for the store. The campaign is designed to demonstrate the opposition of now over 2,000 protestors whom deem the addition to Federation Square a blight on what was originally designed to be a public space. There is also great outcry and concern for the displacement of the occupants of its current tenant The Koorie Heritage Trust, whom have relocated across the road to Flinders St ironically close to where an existing Apple reseller was located before it moved late in 2018.