Work Begins To Replace Fifth Avenue Glass Cube

June 16, 2011

In a stunning development, an expensive construction project has begun at the Fifth Avenue (NYC) Apple store to completely remove the unique and iconic glass cube entrance to the store and to then reinstall it. Permits issued by the city’s Department of Buildings confirm the company will spend $6,661,050 to completely remove the glass and its sophisticated connection hardware, make upgrades to the surrounding plaza structure, and then “reinstall” the cube. The  permits don’t hint at why the cube is being replaced, either for safety reasons or to upgrade it to current technology. It’s also not clear if the original glass panels and the TriPyramid Structures Inc. hardware will be be replaced with new versions or simply reinstalled. Workers appeared on Wednesday evening and began erecting plywood walls around the central area of the plaza that surrounds the glass cube. In the coming days, workers will erect scaffolding to allow access to the 32-foot cube that was fabricated and assembled in late 2005 and early 2006 at a reported cost of $7 million. The design of the cube was trademarked last year to prevent anyone from copying the structure, and store lease documents indicate if Apple were to move, the company would take the cube with them. Building permits issued on June 13th state the work will also include removing protective bollards, installing new pavers around the cube’s perimeter, and removing and reinstalling surrounding water drains. According to the permits, the work could be finished by early November.

Download (pdf) the permit documents that describe the extent of work and the value of the project.

The central area in front of the GM Building (outside of bollard "dots" shown here) is now fenced off with a plywood wall to protect passersby during removal and replacement of the glass cube entrance.

The Fifth Avenue glass cube's unique and sophisticated design is trademarked to protect it from copycats.

The paint on the plywood barricade has been specially color-matched to the plaza stone to make it less conspicuous.

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