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Fosters unveils revised Apple store design after ‘Pizza Hut pagoda’ backlash

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Foster + Partners has redesigned plans for a new Apple store in Melbourne following widespread criticism that its original proposals resembled a ‘Pizza Hut pagoda’

Local politicians had demanded that Victoria’s state parliament withdraw permission for the tech giant’s new flagship store in the heart of the city’s beloved Federation Square.

Opponents objected to the two-storey pavilion design, and to the demolition of the Yarra building, home to the Koori Heritage Trust, which promotes aboriginal rights.

Foster + Partners’ new design features a public balcony and solar power roof, and will provide 500m² of new public space, with outdoor shading and improved connections between the square and the Yarra River.

Following the public outcry over the initial proposals, a steering committee was set up to develop design principles for the project. These included that the building that should respond to the landscaped river corridor, to the existing buildings in Federation Square and to the emerging designs for the new Town Hall metro station.

The committee held a series of design workshops, which included presentations from Donald Bates, chair of architectural design at the University of Melbourne, on the original iteration of Federation Square’s design and from Foster + Partners.

However, the architects have failed to silence the critics, with the campaign group Citizens for Melbourne arguing the new designs merely ’swaps a Pizza Hut pagoda for an oversized iPad’.

Campaign president Tania Davidge said: ’It doesn’t matter how many times Apple redesigns its megastore, Federation Square is still the wrong place for an Apple Store.’

‘Victorians would not support a giant iPad in the Botanic Gardens or at the National Gallery of Victoria. Why does the government think that Victorians would be happy to sell out what makes Melbourne great?’

But Jonathan Tribe, CEO of Fed Square Pty Ltd, the piazza’s management vehicle, said the flagship store is ’consistent with Federations Square’s Civic and Cultural Charter, which recognises Melbourne’s pre-eminence as a centre for creativity and innovation.’

The Apple store is expected to open in late 2020.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • They don't get it, the issues were not in the main about the aesthetics, but that a loved public space, and community sector building related to aboriginal rights, was being disposed off for a corporate beast to get prime real estate in the city. You could make it the prettiest building ever made, but the ethics is still problematic, and architects like Fosters need to realise that there is more to design than how it looks.

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  • No image of the Yarra Building - I wonder why?

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