Rotting Apple

The Apple store in downtown Portland was built in 2014, designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson to fit Apple’s open-air, accessible aesthetic. From the architects:

This single-room, pavilion-like store was designed for one of the world’s leading technology companies and located along a prominent Portland retail corridor. Replacing a preexisting department store, the new building is a reinterpretation of the favorite architectural themes developed over the past 14 years for the technology company’s extensive retail program.

A broad, glass-enclosed room makes this retail environment feel like a seamless extension of the surrounding urban environment. Spanning a city block with 240 lineal feet of 20-foot high storefront glazing, the building’s facade dematerializes the boundary between interior and exterior. The store is actively engaged in the activity of the thoroughfare, with its entry setback adding another stop along the “Portland Open Space Sequence” connecting Lawrence Halprin’s 1970 Forecourt Fountain and the Pioneer Courthouse Square with other downtown parks…

Delicate stainless steel columns set at the interior side of the glass storefront support the roof as it cantilevers out over the surrounding plaza. This minimal support allows for unobstructed views to the surrounding urban landscape, further blurring the line between interior and exterior. The canopy creates a place for pedestrians to gather and diffuses direct sunlight, both inside and out.

Above the occupied retail space grows a green roof system that not only acts as a fourth facade to the surrounding towers, but also contributes to the overall health of the building and well being of the city of Portland.

The store was targeted by antifa in the early morning hours of May 30, the first day of 2020’s summer of BLM rioting in Portland.

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After a few days the store boarded up, and instantly became a memorial to the growing canon of BLM heroes.

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The store closed in June as the rioting continued. That December, as Apple carefully prepared to reopen the store, the company had a dilemma. Taking down the boards meant dismantling the BLM shrine it had become, and could prompt new antifa hostility just as Apple was trying to reclaim the store. So a solution was found.

Apple began covering up the George Floyd mural on its downtown Portland store Wednesday, the first step in the company’s plan to preserve and ultimately donate the historic artwork.

“We’re going to be putting up a protective layer of plywood over the existing artwork to preserve them for future donation,” Apple said in a statement to The Oregonian/OregonLive on Tuesday. The company said it expected to announce long-term plans for the mural early next year.

The artwork was donated to local BLM grifter Teresa Raiford’s Don’t Shoot PDX. Here’s a group photo in front of the shrine/store. I have no idea what the beauty queen is about, but I noticed at the time on the group’s website a banner blocked her out of the picture. Maybe Teresa, in tracksuit here, didn’t like the showboating:

The store reopened in May of 2021. But simply returning it to its original state was not feasible. When the federal courthouse nearby took down its barriers two months before the building was attacked within hours and set on fire that night. It remains barricaded, like the police precinct next door.

So the company encased the store in a massive steel fence anchored by concrete blocks, where customers filed through a security checkpoint. It resembled nothing so much as the entrance to a prison.

Now the steel is coming down. But leaving the store exposed is still not recommended. So Apple is removing the dystopian eyesore that is the steel barrier, and replacing it with a less conspicuous plexiglass eyesore.

The Oregonian reported last May that Apple had proposed installing a lattice-work of clear polycarbonate panels around the store’s windows to replace the security wall. Based on the appearance of the store on Friday and the proposed renderings, it seems that Apple went through with the upgrade — suggesting they’re still hedging their bets somewhat.

Nowhere is the conflict between “social justice” and older, putative progressive values such as “livable cities”, as expressed by Apple’s architecture, more evident. No one here seems to notice.

Apple, March 2023, KGW TV Portland

Nearing three years after our Summer of Soros ushered in the “racial reckoning” the store stands as a metaphor for America and its adaptation to our new order.

Update: Apple launched a $100 million Racial Justice and Equity Initiative in January 2021. Apple CEO Tim Cook has not given a dollar figure for the company’s direct contributions to BLM-related organizations.

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