Apple taps solar power for massive new store in downtown Beijing
Apple and Foster + Partners' longstanding partnership has again borne fruit as the two firms have collaborated on another new store, this time in Beijing, China. Named Apple Sanlitun, the project is topped by solar panels and is defined by its generous glazing, which helps fill the interior with natural light.
Apple Sanlitun replaces Apple's first China store, which opened on a nearby plot in 2008, and offers twice as much space as that original store did. Its facade is made up of 33-ft (10-m)-tall glass panels that were fabricated in Tianjin and are adorned with what looks like a decorative gold filigree.
The building is topped by a large overhanging roof that has integrated solar panels and is designed to provide protection from extremes in heat and rain, says Foster + Partners. Additionally, the firm says that the store comprises a structural system that will withstand seismic forces while still allowing for large column-free interior spaces.
"390 sq m [roughly 4,200 sq ft] of integrated rooftop photovoltaic panels partially offset the energy consumption of the store and a bespoke integrated ceiling system seamlessly houses ventilation, cooling, fire protection equipment and lighting equipment," explains Foster + Partners. "Additional energy saving measures include advanced facade design, optimized air conditioning and efficient lighting systems."
The interior will be familiar to anyone who has set foot in an Apple Store before and has the firm's trademark minimalist decor of stone, glass, and wood.
Two large feature staircases provide access to the upper floor's Genius Grove, where customers can seek help from staff. Elsewhere lies the Forum, which hosts artists, musicians and other creative types who will teach their working methods (using Apple's hardware, of course), a Viewing Gallery seating area for watching people milling around the square below, and a Boardroom, for local businesses and entrepreneurs to receive guidance on using Apple products. Plus there are product displays and staff areas, as you'd expect.
The collaboration between Apple and Foster + Partners has proved remarkably successful over the years and, in addition to working on many Apple Stores, the pair previously created a new HQ and a visitor center.