The sphere is the most perfect of figures. Is there a better place than on the water to radiate its perfection? Yes, in front of a big city.
There is no question, size does matter. If we place a significant jewel in the cathedral of León, it will be eclipsed by the impressive stained glass windows, with a good chance that it will go unnoticed. Size matters, that is true, why deny it, but it is not everything. To prove it, we present you a unique and small building. It is about the future Apple store, a floating sphere that is eclipsing the giants of Singapore. Giants of the stature of the Marina Bay Sands, although, to be fair, more than overshadowing it, it complements it, that is, it increases its value.
Singapore’s spherical Apple Store
The company on the apple dared the challenge showing off its good architectural taste. A taste that has been determined to transmit to all those latitudes to which it is capable of reaching. Of course, from the hand of eminences of architecture such as the international Norman Foster, perhaps the most prolific architect in the world. This construction, called «the most ambitious retail project», is one more marvel or, rather, the latest wonder of Apple.
Apple’s floating sphere has several peculiarities that make it unique and promising. The first is its spherical envelope, which gives it a conceptual, almost magical look. The second, which is floating on water, being the first Apple store to be located on water, becoming a perfect icon for the company. In fact, before its inauguration on September 10, it had caught the attention of several Instagram users, who published several photos of the store wrapped in a gray canvas.
A sphere that seems to float on water
But, unfortunately, everything has a trick. The sphere does not float on water, but appears to float. In fact, the construction is supported by formidable reinforced concrete walls with the circular shape of the building. In such a way that to execute the sphere a scaffolding was placed that surrounded the entire building, with work platforms so that the operators could attach the glass both inside and outside. A process that was carried out with the help of mobile cranes.
The store is accessed through an underwater tunnel 45 meters long and 7.6 meters wide. It is an arm that leaves The Shoppes shopping center, and that in its day reached another building that occupied the same space, the Avalon Center, a construction designed by the renowned Moshe Safdie and which closed in 2016.
An ingenious way, for a small building
This detail, that of not floating, does not disappoint us at all, rather it congratulates us with the ingenuity of the designer, or designers, since when it comes to brand stores, no one knows for sure where the architect part ends and begins. and the promoter.
The spherical shape of the building would remain a mere anecdote if it weren’t for another detail: it is made of glass. In this way, the store becomes a setting where customers can enjoy 360-degree views of the Marina Bay and the city.
The dial has 114 glass pieces and 10 steel studs
The dome has a diameter of 30 meters, reaches a height of 70, and is self-supporting, that is, it alone takes care of the transmission of forces without the need for any external supporting element such as pillars, beams and those unsightly, but inescapable parts of any construction. Thus, 114 pieces of glass and 10 very narrow vertical steel uprights serve as structural support, giving a lightness only seen in soap bubbles and the like.
Of course, this could only be done with the sphere shape which, as we know, is the most efficient form of stress transmission. In addition, it is the geometric figure that best contains space.
The Apple Store has metal rings that control the passage of light
To mitigate the effects of a direct impact from the sun, metal rings have been installed, attached to the uprights and parallel to the top of the building. These rings stop the light from entering, allowing you to enjoy the space without having to be dazzled or wear sunglasses.
The rings end in an oculus that, according to the architects, «is reminiscent of the famous Pantheon in Rome.» Be careful, this is not just any comparison. Many historians might be on the warpath, but the idea is poignant to say the least.
A small building that dazzles
As a natural support for the defense against the heat, ten trees have been placed, following the shape of a ring, which provide additional shade. They are also in flowerpots that can serve as seats.
The store is the third Apple Store to open in Singapore. However, it is still the most spectacular and photogenic, capable of rivaling the silhouette of the powerful buildings in this part of the city. It is a constructive gem, there is no doubt. A small object that dazzles like your elevator wrapped in stainless steel, panels that reflect the interior of the store, making it imperceptible at first glance. This 2020 is bringing us many surprises, I wish they were all like this, exquisite inside and out.