DC Store Design Nearly Approved

February 3, 2009

After several denials by a District of Columbia architectural commission, Apple has finally obtained approval from one commission for its planned store on Wisconsin Avenue in the Georgetown district of the city, and it’s a stunning new design that includes a rear interior atrium with planted trees. Apple intends to demolish and re-build the building at 1229 Wisconsin Avenue that they purchased in 2007 for $13.3 million. Early designs were heavy on glass, stainless steel and a large, back-lit Apple logo, raising objections from the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) that it didn’t match the neighborhood’s architectural character. As reported by the Georgetown Voice Web site, on Monday the ANC approved a fourth design submission that features a brick façade, one level of glass and a much smaller Apple logo. But more remarkable is the interior of the one-level store: the rear 20 feet of the store is tall enough to house two tall, potted trees. The store is expected to obtain eventual design approval from the Old Georgetown Board, which meets this Thursday. The store could open by late 2009. See renderings of the proposed design after the break.

Read this account of Apple’s attempts to present an acceptable architectural design to the District’s approval groups.

These renderings were obtained from the ANC by The Georgetown Metropolitan.

This general view of the store shows how well the proposed masonry storefront design blends into the surrounding buildings.

This is Apple's current design proposal, and the rendering shows how well the proposed masonry storefront design blends into the surrounding buildings. Only the store façade will be two levels tall, while the main interior of the store is just one story tall.

This closer view of the proposed store design shows that there is a rear garden area to the store, with two trees visible from the front window.

This closer view of the proposed store design shows that the interior is just one story tall, and that there is a rear garden area in the store, with two trees visible from the front window. Oddly, the cornice (top portion) of the roof is not as high as the two adjacent buildings.

In this side elevation view, you can see that beyond the Genius Bar (right side), there is a taller section of the building that will apparently have a skylight and trees. Despite the multi-level storefront, the retail space is on a single level.

In this side elevation view, you can see that beyond the Genius Bar (right of center), there is a taller section of the building that will apparently have a skylight and trees.

This blueprint of the front elevation shows the various heights of the structure, including a 40-foot wide and 46-foot total height. Note that his early rendering shows a three-level storefront, while the final photo renderings show just a two-level façade.

Apple's first design proposal, presented to local officials by local architect George Gordon in blueprint form, shows the front elevation, and the various heights of the structure, including a 40-foot width and 46-foot total height. This proposal was for a 3-level façade, while the recent designs are for a 2-level storefront. The Old Georgetown Board objected to the large expanse of glass on the ground level.

This rendering shows an early, denied proposal that is similar to the Boylston Street (Boston) store design, with an all-glass storefront over two levels.

This was Apple's second design proposal presented in July 2008, which is similar to the Boylston Street (Boston) store design, with an all-glass storefront over two levels. Like Boston officials, the OGB has reservations about the amount of light emitted from the interior of the store.

This early design, also turned down by the ANC, appears to show a stainless steel storefront with a large back-lit Apple logo.

This is the third design submitted by Apple, which was also turned down by the ANC. It shows a stone storefront similar to North Michigan Avenue (Chicago), with a large Apple logo cut from the center.

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