Uh-Oh: Norman Foster’s Chicago Apple Store Can’t Handle Its Home City’s Weather

For all its hype and high design, the MacBook-shaped roof of Norman Foster’s Chicago Apple store has one serious, weather-driven dilemma: It fails to properly account for its home city’s snowfall. Several bloggers reported this week that the building’s unique shape (notably a gently sloping roof modeled after a certain computer) makes it easy for large chunks of ice and packed snow to slide right off its roof, causing an icy hazard to pedestrians below.

The flagship’s location, just on the banks of the Chicago River on North Michigan Avenue, makes it one with a high density of foot traffic. As such, Apple has been forced to cordon off an area surrounding its shop to protect innocent passersby from a rain of dangerous ice. Apple has installed signs reading “Watch for falling ice” around the store, where a combination of winter snow and the city’s trademark winds have turned the showstopping building into a potential danger. It would appear Sir Foster (who also designed Apple’s new campus in the much less snowy California) might be more accustomed to the rains associated with his home country than the snows of the American Midwest.

Neither Apple nor Foster has yet commented on whether changes will be made to prevent the miniature avalanches going forward. But, in case you were planning on it, let this be a lesson not to use your closed MacBook as shelter from a storm. Of course, the whole situation does warrant a few well-crafted puns.

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