See how Apple's stores are built like temples

From inside the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
PHOTO: AFP

Hundreds to thousands of years ago, our ancestors used to celebrate the turning of the seasons, the harvesting of the crops, and the changing of the new year.

In the modern world, we keep many of these old traditions, but there's no doubt they've lost some of the grandeur they used to occupy. Today, a major event can be as much the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival, or the release of a new Star Wars movie, or the launch of a new iPhone.

On that last note, Atlas Obscura, a website about the world's curious places, asked Erica Robles-Anderson, a cultural historian and professor at New York University, to walk with them through a Manhattan Apple Store, to find out how much of it resembles the temples of old.

As Robles-Anderson reveals, it's fascinating how the Apple Stores use some of the same architectural techniques as temples to invoke the feeling of awe, community and sacredness.

For example, here's how the use of large, heavy doors give you a sense that you're entering an important space:

"'The oversized doors are fantastic,' says Robles-Anderson. 'There's no reason for them.' They're there only to communicate that this place is important. Also, they're heavy, like church doors, to give purpose and portent to the entry into the space."

To be sure, there's no clear link that Apple purposefully designed their stores to resemble sacred spaces. Instead, it's more likely that their architects are using the same design principles as architects all over the world, and through millennia, have used to design beautiful buildings.

Go to Atlas Obscura to find out more, including how wide staircases and steep, narrow steps change the way you feel about a space. What you learn might give you new eyes to look at the next Apple Store you walk into.


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