Foster + Partners UK, used its renowned skills to turn an abandoned 1920s movie theatre in downtown Los Angeles into Apple’s latest I-Store.

The movie theatre, known as Tower Theatre, was originally designed in the baroque revival style by American architect Charles Lee in 1927, and is situated at the intersection of Eighth and Broadway Streets. Tower Theatre was the first theatre in Los Angeles to be wired for showing motion pictures with sound, but it was shut down in 1988.

Foster + Partners realised that the theatre required expert preservationist and renovation skills. Therefore the project involved close collaboration with the City of Los Angeles to ensure that both the building’s facade and interior received the necessary sympathetic and careful approach.

Harmonising old with new
Balancing the ultra-modern Apple brand with the theatre’s grand interior in the style of Charles Garnier’s Paris Opera House, complete with bronze handrails and marble columns, was not an easy task. However, the team from Foster + Partners’ skills are obvious throughout the building, where careful consideration meant that Tower Theatre’s terracotta facade was simply cleaned and a canopy that extends over Broadway was rebuilt.

At the centre of Apple Tower Theatre is the Forum, a large retail space with a display screen hung in the restored arch where the cinema screen once was, while the movie theatre’s original balconies remain in situ. Apple plans to use the space as an auditorium for daily skills workshops and presentations from local filmmakers and musicians.

Unique features
An original stained-glass window with a pattern that includes coiled strips of film has also been painstakingly restored, along with a fresco of a blue and cloudy sky that arches over the double-height space.

Other Apple Stores in historic buildings include a shop built inside a palazzo in Rome by Foster + Partners and the Carnegie Library in Washington DC, which was built in 1903 and converted into a shop for the technology company by Beyer Blinder Belle.

Our sincere thanks and appreciation to Dezeen and Apple for the information contained in this article. For more information, visit

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