Adaptive Architecture: Imagining the Apple Store in the Year 2070

How do you take something old and make it new again? Re-imagine the design of the Michigan Avenue Apple Store in the year 2070.

Taking into consideration projections about future cities, imagine how the use of the Michigan Avenue Apple Store will change in the future. How will it serve the needs of the changing city? Will be school? A restaurant? A transportation hub? You decide! 



We often pair the term "adaptive reuse" with older structures. We look at old train stations that have transformed into hotels, warehouses that are now condominiums, churches that are now homes. We can see value in keeping the stories that accompany the structure. But how does this conversation change when we look at a currently new building, and think about the change that will affect it in the future? What is the value in maintaining a building's structure? What sort of adaptations will be considered in the future?

The Michigan Avenue Apple Store is a hub for an international conglomerate company, a flagship store, a representation of technology, a classroom, a tourist destination, the list goes on.

Considering how cities are rapidly changing and adapting to their growing societies, how will the Apple Store change in the year 2070? How will it be used?


Collect Information

Gather as much information as possible about the Michigan Avenue Apple Store. 

The photos you take and the simple diagrams you sketch here will help you understand how the existing classroom location and design will compare with your new ideas.

Try This

  • Walk around the interior and exterior of the Apple Store and take photos or a short video. You can upload those photos or short videos in this step. Be sure to write a detailed description for every image.
  • Take interior photos of the hallways, entrances, elevators, stairs, and all points of access to the building. 
  • Make a list of those features that you really like about how the building looks / functions.
  • Make separate list of all the ways that the building is not so well designed (uncomfortable chairs, the light is poor, noisy, etc.)
  • View the structure from multiple points-of view 
  • Use Google Maps to view and print out an aerial photo of the building. Cool, huh?

Think About

  • Estimate how many people are in the building when you visit it.
  • What types of furniture is used? Does it need to be movable? Why or why not?
  • What is the artificial and natural light in the building like?
  • What materials are currently used on the floors, walls, and ceiling?
  • Have you visited other Apple Stores? How is this one similar or different?
  • Spend some time looking at the aerial photo of the building.  What types of other buildings surround it?  Homes, businesses, parks, parking lots, or an empty field? How will these other buildings impact your design?
  • What types of streets surround the building? Are they busy or quiet?
  • Based on the site analysis diagram you've sketched, where is the sun located throughout the day?

Visit the "From Me to We" Exhibit at the Chicago Architecture Center

  • What are some changes that will impact cities in the future?
  • How might these changes affect the use of the building?
  • How might these changes affect the appearance of the building?

Brainstorm Ideas

Try This

  • Create bubble diagrams representing different ideas of use.
  • What kind of furniture and equipment will be in your building?
  • Save copies of the images you find, and post them in the slides for your project. Include a hyperlink to the Flickr photo in the caption, to credit the photographer.
  • Post images of buildings, colors, designs, textures, or other things that inspire you in this step. Make sure you give credit to your source!

Think About

  • Have you seen any other buildings that you liked or did not like. Why?
  • Think about a building that has inspired you. 
  • Consider the roof and spaces around the building. Will you use this space for anything in your design?

Develop Solutions

In this step, your rough ideas come together with drawings or models that can show others your solutions for the Apple Store in the year 2070. 

Important! Since DiscoverDesign is about investigating the design process, the other people viewing your project - other students around the country, your teachers, friends and family, and design mentors - want to see how your ideas have changed over time.

This means that while you're working on your digital project, you’ll want to be sure to keep resaving any files or models with a new file name every few days as you work through the steps. Maybe add a date to the file name.

Try This

  • Upload images of your bubble diagrams
  • Create floorplans
  • Build a massing model. 
  • Consider including the following types of spaces and furnishings:
    • indoor seating and working area (tables, seating)
    • outdoor seating area, if you decide to have one (tables, seating)
    • book storage (shelves)
    • media storage
    • audio / visual lab corner or space
    • integration of technology
    • meeting / collaboration spaces
    • restrooms
    • bins for recycling

Final Design

The final step of the design process is to create more finished drawings that illustrate your ideas to others. Remember, your explanation text, and the types of drawings, images, and models you share need to tell the whole story of your project to someone who may or may not have ever visited your school.

Good piece of advice: Your drawings and models should have enough information so that someone you've never met can see your project and understand what you are trying to say and how your design works. Pretty simple!

Try This

  • How will your design impact the community?
  • What color or colors will be in the building? What colors have inspired you?  What kinds of floor, wall, and ceiling finishes would you like to use, and why?
  • Upload additional images of your finished design for your project portfolio. Write short captions explaining your ideas.
  • Congratulations on solving this design challenge!