All posts tagged glass roof

Highland Village Apple Store – Details Part 3 – The Reflective Roof


At first I was a bit disapointed finding that the Highland Village Apple Store roof would not be transparent. Having survived many hot Houston summers, I can appreciate the necessity. But still, why go with glass if you want opaque? Here’s why.

When I caught a glimpse of the ceiling a few months ago, I thought it looked odd but I could not place why. The photo at the right shows the underside of the center ceiling panels. I shot it one night when winds were high, blowing the black tarps about. The interior of the store was brightly lit, but the ceiling seemed overly reflective for what I thought, at the time, to be clear glass.

We now know that most of the ceiling will be opaque and after reviewing some of my older photos tonight I believe it is more than just a concession to Texas weather. Check out the night time shot to the right. It’s a dark photo without much detail, but notice how the roof shines so brightly that you can see it’s glow even through the black tarps.

Adding the light grey opaque layers in the glass roof panels make them more reflective than transparent glass. They bounce that interior lighting back like a lighthouse mirror, causing the ceiling to shine like a beacon in the night. This will create a much more impressive display at night than a clear roof ever could.

Highland Village Apple Store – Details Part 2 – The Opaque Glass Ceiling


The panels of an Apple store glass roof are a 9-layer cake of delicious 21st century glass technology, 15 feet long by 8 feet wide and gently curved.

The new Houston store, opening in Highland Village this Friday, features two types of panel and a slightly different approach to glass ceilings than the topper on the NYC Upper West Side store that inspired it.

The 28 center panels feature four layers of “Low-Iron Fully Toughened” glass, an air cavity, a couple of “SGP Interlayers” and two layers of 100% opaque white frit. The Fritting process involves screen printing ceramic frit paint onto the glass and fusing it onto the surface during the heat strengthening process. The result is a tough decorative glass. The opaque frit layers are white on top and light grey on the underside.

The 26 perimeter panels have a 50% opaque grit filter layer. This combination of opaque and semi-opaque panels, along with the clear glass front and back walls, should let in plenty of light without making customers feel like ants under a magnifying glass during the hot Texas summers.

More about the Highland Village Apple Store.

Apple drawings by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Highland Village Apple Store – Details Part 1


Almost all of the drawings, observations and guesses previously made on this blog regarding the Highland Village Apple store have been confirmed, according to documents filed by Apple with the city of Houston. Here is an update on previous reports, along with some interesting new details.

The 9,000+ square foot Highland Village store will feature a gently curving glass roof, supported on either side by faux stone slabs (slate veneer over steel structure.) The store is clearly cut from the cloth of the rumored next-generation design seen in recent architectural renderings of yet-to-be constructed California stores.

The ceiling consists of 54 custom fabricated, quadruple layered glass panels. Unlike the clear glass ceiling of the NYC Upper West Side store, the main area of the Houston roof is completely opaque, creating a much needed barrier to battle against the Texas sun, with 26 semi-transparent panels around the edges.

More info and construction drawings…

New Drawing of Houston Apple Store Design


The rendering above, of the upcoming Highland Village Apple store, is based on dozens of photos and several trips to the construction site to verify details. This drawing corrects items that were unclear in our previous drawing.

This location will be the first incarnation of Apple’s impressive new design, a variation of the patented look and feel of the Upper West Side store in New York.

The Houston store sports a unique glass back wall, with an additional entrance, identical to the front wall. Back entrances are typical of other shops in the center, but unusual for Apple stores. The photo to the right shows the current state of construction of the back wall. Note that while most construction sites are littered with lumber and steel, an Apple construction site stockpiles very thick glass panes.

Smaller than the proposed 8,000 sq ft Santa Monica location (yet to begin construction), this store will feature 3,100 sq ft of retail space under a curving glass roof, bookended by limestone clad slabs.

The “backstage” area of the store is concealed in what appears to be the adjacent building, but is actually an extension constructed for this store, as evidenced in the photo (left) by Jeff Peoples. Like an architectural magic trick, it is styled to the rather plain look of that building so as to appear separate and not effect the clean ascetics of the glass and stone minimalism.

In addition to this eight foot extension, Apple may also be taking over some of the second story space above the cupcake shop next door. Current photos show the second story windows have been recently covered over.

More Apple news…

Highland Village Apple Store – Glass Ceiling Spy Shot


This conspicouisly cloaked construction site in Houston conceals Apple’s next big things. Big in this case refers to about 3,100 square feet of retail space scheduled to open in January 2012. The Highland Village Apple store is unique in that it will be the second to feature their unique glass ceiling design, and the first of an upcoming reimagining of Apple architecture.

During the day, it is difficult to tell what secrets are behind the curtain. At night however, interior work lights transform the glass walls and ceiling into a glowing shape two stories tall, revealing the unmistakable curve of Apple’s patented store design.

Two other stores (that we know of) have been proposed based on this scaled down version of the revered Upper West Side NYC design. One in Santa Monica, and one in Palo Alto, CA, though neither have begun construction to date.

The photo gallery below shows a detail of the glass roof as glimpsed through a wind-blown separation in the the black cloak that covers the worksite, the NY store and  renderings of the proposed California stores. And be sure to check out Gary Allen’s photo comparison of the UWS store ceiling with one of my pics at

[nggallery id=4]