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The green field there is the future site of the restaurant, along with a few more feet off to the left of the image. The mall is set quite far back from an extremely busy road by a vast swath of parking lot. To the credit of the original design, however, many of the businesses in the mall are oriented towards the interior pedestrian courtyard areas, which helps to mitigate the awfulness of all the surrounding asphalt. Don't take that as an endorsement of malls, though -- i'd much rather see businesses spring up in downtown areas than on cheap plots of open land that promote sprawl and a reliance on our already excessive driving habits.
If you happen to live in the Detroit area, you might notice that the design for this project is very similar to the Rojo in St. Clair Shores. That restaurant was a rework of a building constructed in 1906, but the design process happened concurrently, so there are quite a few visual similarities in the exterior.
Because i've scaled these images for the blog, the scales are no longer accurate.
A note before you hurt your brain by looking at the following plan: plan north is true south, which is to say the plan is upside down, and the elevation above is actually the west elevation. I would happily rotate it for you, but then the text would be wrong, and in any case it makes sense since you enter from the north west (bottom right of plan).
As much as i look at plans, i still find it hard to really conceptualize what i'm looking at without seeing the space or at least getting some guidance, so i'll try to break this down into manageable morsels of architecture. The rightmost rectangle delineates the outdoor seating, and those dotted squares are umbrellas above. If you visit the site you'll notice we opted for smaller umbrellas than shown, which was partly a time and cost concern, but also the smaller umbrellas fit under the foliage of the nearby trees better.
Just to the left of the patio is a three-seasons enclosed seating area with large doors to the main interior. This effectively creates a secondary seating area to the main dining, which is the area just right of the kitchen. The dark black columns between the bar area and the main dining space mark the line of a visual separation between spaces. Two steps along this line further separate the areas and place the dining lower in the restaurant. To avoid a cave-like feeling, a large hidden skylight washes the north wall (the bottom wall) in light.
Here's four months of construction in four pictures...
And the final exterior on the north facade.
My fingers were calloused beyond belief twisting up all the wire cages for these tequila bottles. While i constructed this piece, the design (like most everything that goes through our office) belongs to my boss. I've never been here late enough to see it lit up from below, but i imagine it's much more dramatic than this picture shows.
That's all for this week! Check back next Tuesday for more architecture. If you've been to this Rojo, please comment what you thought of it!