Building began on the Madrid branch of the Apple Store recently and in the basement, workers uncovered the remains of a hospital built in the 1400s. According to a report by El Pais, the designs of the 6000-square-metre store have now been altered so that the floor traces the outline of the ruins.
The city was originally going to request that Apple add glass panels to the shop floor in order to allow customers to see the foundations beneath but this was dismissed due to a “lack of great interest from a visual point of view”. Images of the accidental excavation show that the remainder of the walls is well and truly deteriorated.
Next door to what will be the new Apple store is a light rail station which also encountered historic ruins during building, this time of a church. The ruins are now behind glass panels in order to protect them and to allow people to view them simultaneously. Jaime Ignacio Muñoz, who directs Madrid's heritage department, promises that the hospital remains will be protected under the Apple store, despite being out of sight.
A slight juxtaposition to Apple’s clean and pure branding, the hospital was built in the early 15th century, alongside the church, to treat plague victims. Both of the old buildings were renamed Buen Suceso (Good Fortune) in 1612, maybe the name will bless Apple with excellent sales – not that any help is really needed, as Apple is now the 19th largest company in the world.
It is unclear yet as to whether the basement where the ruins stand will be used as storage or retail space but either way, the positioning of some of the most modern and readily available technology we have today, next to 600 year old ruins, serves as a reminder about how advanced technology is becoming.
The store does not yet have a set opening date but most are expecting building work to be completed by Christmas. In that case, let’s hope the building and underlying ruins aren’t haunted, or things could turn a bit Dickensian. Who knows, maybe even the spirit of Steve Jobs might drop by.