How one community is fighting back against the construction of a “Pizza Hut pagoda” Apple Store
Giving us a lesson on how lobbying a giant tech firm in your local community works, some 800 people in Melbourne, Australia have rejected Apple’s proposal to build a flagship Apple Store in Federation Square. Not because they’re Microsoft fanboys, you understand, but because they see this Apple Store as an eyesore.
I know what you’re thinking. Apple, with its sleek, glassy buildings, polished surfaces, and the numerous awards under its belt for architecture surely can’t be criticised for bad taste. But it can if an Apple Store is about to be plopped into Federation Square, the city’s cultural hub. Most of the district’s buildings follow a geometric theme, with scalene triangle-sized tiles that all fit together in a geometric shape. A glassy, Apple Store would ruin that carefully-honed unity.
Victoria’s government approved Apple’s proposal to build an Apple Store over the Yarra building back in December, but the two-storey concept design has faced backlash ever since it was first floated. That backlash has now been recognised by Melbourne’s council following a meeting on Tuesday.
It’s actually not being rejected for anything other than being a total design mismatch, though. Green party councillor Rohan Leppert, for example, submitted a motion welcoming a new Apple global flagship store in the city, but expressed concerns over how the store would change the design and purpose of Melbourne’s civic meeting area without any public consultation. He urged the government to “commit to a significant redesign of the Apple global flagship store at Federation Square to avoid a pavilion or temple-like design that is out of context in Federation Square” – a pitch that was unanimously backed by councillors.
If the motion fails to win over the government, the council are to take matters straight to the upper house MPs.
“It reminds me of a Pizza Hut pagoda and I just think it’s like something that rolled off an Apple Store production line,” Nicholas Reece, another city councillor, told ABC.
I can’t imagine that Apple will be keen on changing its design to fit in with the other buildings in Federation Square – they’ve got their own singular design to maintain after all. But with the community pressuring Apple to choose a different site in the city, the company will have to either comply or face the possible wrath of 800 boycotters.
The Victoria Green Party will attempt to block the development as the parliament votes next week.
Image: Victorian government