Apple has withdrawn controversial plans to build a new flagship Apple Store at Melbourne's Federation Square. Heritage Victoria denied the application to demolish the Yarra Building to make way for the Foster+Partners-designed retail store, a project the local heritage authority says would have had "an unacceptable and irreversible detrimental impact on the cultural heritage significance of Federation Square."
Original plans for the site were unveiled in 2017. Apple outlined its vision for a pagoda-style building which would also host workshops, classes and live music events. Almost immediately, heritage advocates and ultimately Melbourne City Council decried the potential loss of the Yarra Building, one of the deconstructivist buildings surrounding the public plaza. Sharp criticism was also levied at the design of the building itself, which became facetiously known as the 'Pizza Hut Pagoda' for its unusual shape.
Apple returned to the table with a more streamlined design that exchanged the cantilevered canopies with a simpler glass flat-roofed building, but campaign group Citizens for Melbourne maintained Federation Square was the wrong spot to advertise the brand. The group's online petitions, arguing against the corporate takeover of public space, collected over 100,000 signatures.
The project bypassed public consultation after the local government lauded the economic benefits for the area, further fueling opposition to the plan. Although the project was approved, Federation Square's nomination to the Victorian Heritage Register in 2018 then required approval of a demolition permit for the Apple Store to go through.
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