| Cult of Mac

Art Gensler, architect who helped create Apple Store, dies at 85


Apple Store
One of the many iconic Apple Stores Gensler had a hand in.
Photo: Apple

Art Gensler, the pioneering American architect who founded the world’s largest architectural firm and played a key role in the iconic look of Apple Stores, died Monday at the age of 85.

To try and distill Gensler’s career into “he helped create the Apple Store” is doing him a big disservice. His firm, founded in 1965, operates in 50 countries and produces an annual revenue of $1.5 billion. Nonetheless, for Apple fans, his work on Apple Stores is one of his many indelible contributions.

And he once got fired by Steve Jobs for it.

Home sick: Snap judgments on new Apple TV+ architecture docuseries [Review]


Apple TV+ Home review:
Apple's new architecture docuseries is half-inspiring, half-insufferable.
Photo: Apple TV+

Home, the new Apple TV+ docuseries about unconventional structures designed by unorthodox architects, is — surprise, surprise — as much a mixed a bag as anything else on the streaming service.

The nine-episode series, available to watch Friday, provides a window into homes and the ethos, hardship and breakthroughs that lead to their creation. It would be an understatement to say that some episodes prove more interesting than others.

Steve Jobs insisted every bolt on Pixar’s HQ be hand-tightened


Steve Jobs sweated the details of the Steve Jobs Building on the Pixar campus in Emeryville, California.
Steve Jobs sweated the details.
Photo: Duluoz cats/Flickr CC

Breaking news: Steve Jobs was kind of a perfectionist when it came to design.

OK, so that’s not exactly the world’s best-kept secret. But a new story about the creation of Pixar’s headquarters highlights Jobs’ obsessive attention to detail. For anyone who remembers hearing about the creation of Apple Park, it will sound eerily familiar…

Jony Ive puts his mark on stately Carnegie Library Apple store


Apple Carnegie Library
Old meets new in Apple Carnegie Library, which opens Saturday.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s newest store is more of a step back in time than the usual step into an all-glass box.

The tech giant proudly gave a sneak peek into its Washington D.C. outlet, a former Carnegie Library where Ive and Beaux-Arts styles blend for a refreshing feel to the Apple retail experience.

Of course, there’s a staircase.

His eye and iPhone reveal shapes of San Francisco


Burton Rast iPhone photos
Unpainted Ladies from Burton Rast's Shapes of San Francisco.
Photo: Burton Rast

Burton Rast had his first look at San Francisco 20 years ago and wondered aloud to a friend if it was possible to photograph one of the world’s most photographed cities in a new way.

With his iPhone 6s and some creative tweaking of the pictures in Adobe Lightroom Mobile, Rast has succeeded in producing a unique view of the city’s iconic architectural landmarks.

Laurene Powell Jobs is building Steve’s dream home


Steve is finally getting his dream home.
Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

Steve Jobs was such a perfectionist that, for years, he didn’t fill his house with furniture simply because he couldn’t find items that measured up to his high standards.

Which is why it is oddly fitting that only now — approaching five years after the former Apple CEO’s death — is work finally set to begin on building Steve Jobs’ dream family house on land he bought way back in 1984.

How a California real estate developer helped create Apple as we know it


A classic promotional shot emphasizes the stylish open-plan living found in an Eichler home. Photo: Eichler
A vintage promotional shot emphasizes the stylish open-plan living found in an Eichler home. Photo: Eichler

With an innovative architectural style that brought elegant living to the masses, real estate developer Joseph Eichler left an indelible mark on California in the 1960s.

His beautifully simple blueprints also had an undeniable impact on Apple’s co-founders — although Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs took very different lessons from his work. Remarkably, Eichler’s design philosophy continues to shape Apple’s products, inside and out, to this day.

“I was very lucky to grow up in an Eichler,” Wozniak told Cult of Mac, referring to his family’s four-bedroom home in Sunnyvale, California. “It greatly influenced my liking of simplicity and open style. I like it whenever I see those attributes in any architecture.”

10 incredible, Apple-worthy staircases that will make your head spin


The Apple Store on  Boylston Street in Boston boasts a remarkable spiral staircase. Photo: Joseph Thornton/Flickr CC
The Apple Store on Boylston Street in Boston boasts a remarkable spiral staircase. Photo: Joseph Thornton/Flickr CC

If you’ve ever walked into a flagship Apple Store unconvinced of the magic of Cupertino’s products, a wondrous curvy, glass staircase might have softened your psyche.

Apple’s retail outlets are almost as well known for award-winning architecture and eye-catching staircases as for the MacBooks, iPads and iPhones on sale. But Apple Stores aren’t the only places to make vertical trips seem like a magical journey.

7 beautiful workplaces that put yours to shame



If the first thing you do upon arriving at work every day is cast a sad look at the plain, monolithic block in which you spend almost a quarter of your week, you might be interested to know that some people work in places that are not only better-looking than your office, but actually downright beautiful.

These seven buildings all come courtesy of Danish firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects. And some of them are even public buildings that you could visit, if only to pretend you got paid to go there every day.

Just don't start answering the phones while you're there. Receptionists kind of hate that.

Halifax Central Library (above)

This building opened this week and is Schmidt Hammer Lassen's latest project. Its four-giant-block construction might look like a set of hastily assembled LEGO boxes, but each section aligns with one of the adjoining building's streets. Additionally, the orange of the third layer matches the brick in surrounding buildings.

The library serves as a "multifunctional cultural hub with direct accessibility to the vibrant surrounding urban context of historic and new buildings, and the buzz of downtown," according to the firm's official website.

Photo: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

This project is still in the proposal stage, but it aims to expand an existing structure in Oslo by more than half while being more ecologically friendly. The patches of green on the outside of the building are part of this plan and also serve to make the structure's eco-responsibilty visible. Those spots are actually plants that are part of the air-intake system. The designers call them "lungs," and they are there to "clean, humidify and reduce the CO2-concentration of the incoming air for the comfort of the staff and visitors. " Other innovations include "solar chimneys" that channel heat into a rooftop greenhouse and a massive, 35,000 cubic-foot ice-storage area that contributes to the building's heating and cooling.

Photo: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
The home of Danish financial-services company Nykredit in Copenhagen is a ten-story, transparent cube with a wide-open central atrium. Inside, the building has meeting rooms that hang in space like that prison cell where they kept Magneto in the first two X-Men films. So if you ever work there and find yourself stuck in a boring meeting, just imagine that you're only in that room because you're too badass for normal jail.

Photo: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
It's actually possible to walk underneath this building in Copenhagen, Denmark, although I don't know if I could do it. It's an extension for Danish financial-services corporation Nykredit, and it is "designed to interact with their surroundings, offering a subtle connection between the formal architecture of the Glyptotek Museum of Ancient and Modern Art, and the waterfront area which forms the setting for the new building."

Photo: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
This 600-foot tall high-rise in Poland looks as much like a sculpture as it does a home for offices and financing, and it's both. It's made of three rectangular volumes and "offers a spatial coherence between roof and street level. The lobby at street level, with its spectacular shaped ceiling, corresponds with the sloping shapes of the rooftops." It even has solar panels built into its roofs and contains apparatus to harvest rainwater, therefore giving it a third duty as an engine of conservation.

Photo: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Aarhus, Denmark hosts this green-clad curiosity, which aims to be the first zero-energy office building in the country. Its construction includes about 96 percent of the material left over from the building that previously stood on this site, and its abundance of windows works to regulate temperature and maximize natural light.

Photo: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
It would probably be a bit scary to work on the top floor of this shifted building, but that doesn't mean it doesn't look amazing. City of Westminster College in London features open learning spaces and "appears as a clean-cut, modern building with a distinct Scandinavian heritage. The building’s simple geometric forms rotate around a terraced atrium, creating a unifying yet flexible organization."

Photo: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects