Although world renowned for its groundbreaking computer and phone products, Apple is now patenting building design and their concepts appear just as groundbreaking. The company secured the architectural patent for the design of the cylindrical glass entryway to its Shanghai store on Tuesday. It includes not only the design but also the materials used and method of construction. Glass has been incorporated into most of Apple’s most high traffic store locations but the Shanghai location takes the concept to a new level.
Well actually, down a level. The patent is intended to cover a spiral staircase, wrapped around a glass cylinder that twists down into the store, leading patrons inside. The glass cylinder is built from separate curved glass slabs that meld together when installed side by side. Thick glass beams strengthen the structure and form unique glass fins that support a circular roof. The structure dramatically breaks from conventional architecture techniques; the shape and placement of each of the pieces accomplish the patented design.
The metal joints are joined to the rest of the glass panes with a special laminating process covered under the patent. Considering the curve of each panel of glass and the fact that people will be walking upon it all day, the stability of the structure is quite an accomplishment. This is not the first architectural patent Apple has applied for. A glass cube at its New York City Fifth Avenue location was unveiled in 2011. The company said these designs will be replicated and modified in future stores.
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