A development application was lodged today with the Brisbane City Council for MacArthur Chambers, a 1930s English Renaissance styled building draped in history and located in the heart of the Brisbane CBD. In the application made to council, the retail tenancy covering the ground floor, mezzanine and basement are set to be overhauled and restored to their former glory.
A review of the architectural drawings supplied show immediately recognisable hallmarks of Apple's retail style. Areas for the Genius Bar, Kids Corner and iPod and iPhone accessories can be found alongside Apple's trademark sugarmaple tables and characteristic stools. A section drawing showing the store's Queen Street frontage includes a coyly reserved square area for "internally illuminated store signage" directly above the entryway which will feature twin reconstructed glazed doors.
The renovation includes a mammoth $3.84m simply to demolish the existing renovations which were completed in the 1980s and again in 2001. The project seeks to "create a high quality retail outlet which showcases the architectural qualities of the original Assurance Chamber and adds contemporary elements of comparable quality."
Recent Apple Stores such as Covent Gardens in the UK, and Paris Opera in France have shown Apple to embrace and enhance the existing heritage fabric of their sites rather than simply throwing a façade of aluminium and plaster in front of them.
The MacArthur Chambers renovation includes several clues to the potential tenant, including
a "uniform stone floor finish" and adjusting the space to house "the new feature stairs", floor to ceiling retail display shelfing, and most convincingly a trio of wall-mounted displays equidistant from one another and sitting behind a long "bar" complete with stools.
The development application is yet to be assigned to a planning officer for assessment, and given the significant heritage listing attached to the site it may take some time. However, once approved the project is expected to take three months to complete.
So here's to Apple's 11th Australian Store, in a setting which will prove to be certainly its most exquisite yet. For further reading you can check out the floor and section plans and for more specific information about the work being done to restore the interior, this document gets interesting from about page 16 onwards. The entire development application can be viewed online at the Brisbane City Council website.