Ideas: projects, writing, research, thinking

Progress on a Restaurant in Sheep’s Clothing

So far so good… the road to DA approval is paved with good intentions, the detour to ruin not an option. A smooth enjoyable DA process is not always the lot of an architect, but to date, this has been exactly our experience working on the DA for a BBQ restaurant for a winery in the Hunter Valley. After a very positive meeting with Council, it’s now full steam ahead on developing and improving the design and prepare the Development Application.

Our design approach is unique to every project, and it’s not often that we adopt a more historic or traditional form for our buildings, but for this project it was part of our client’s brief and in keeping with the specific context. We therefore spent some time researching the buildings and forms traditional to the Hunter region, as we outlined in an earlier post A Restaurant in Sheep’s Clothing. Our research has lead directly to a design that should make for a spatially rich experience for the diners and delightful addition to the landscape.

As is the case for these types of projects the external form needs to be modelled around the internal planning – which needs to be both functional and experientially rich. In turn the internal planning planning should allow externally for an elegant and strong architectural form viewed in the round and a brief for it to be particularly attractive from the street. As usual we started modelling the building, on this occasion quick sketch models on the computer. The image below shows the restaurant as viewed towards the external courtyard on the northeast side.

Model of BBQ Restaurant, viewed form the north east, the existing winery is visible in the background.

Model of BBQ Restaurant, viewed form the north east, the existing winery is visible in the background.

Some of the important elements are visible in this model. The courtyard and verandah, providing outdoor dining with some protection from extremely strong north westerlies. The chimney forms, included as an iconic nod to the past, but more importantly will conceal the otherwise intrusive and the ugly exhaust stacks from the kitchen. The more steeply pitched central roof echoing sheep shed forms and lending the building an appropriate scale in the broad expanse of the vineyard and a grand central interior space flanked by intimate wings.

Preliminary drawings. South (street)  Elevation, North Elevation, Section through Bar and Kitchen .(top to bottom)

Preliminary Elevations. Section through bar and kitchen, service court and store.

With an idea of the building form starting to emerge, we proceeded with drawing elevations and starting to develop the character of the building, it’s materials, its detailed proportions, windows for light and views and an understanding of how to deal with the weather. A more appropriate contemporary expression subtly emerges from the more traditional form. It’s really still a sketch with a great deal of work to be done to improve and refine the project, but the ideas are starting to gel and a more coherent understanding the building is developing, what works, or might work, and what needs more design work to make it much better.

BBQ Restaurant: Preliminary elevations and section

Preliminary Elevations, Section through dining areas, verandah and into the courtyard.

Naturally it’s work in progress, a plastic expression of the client’s brief. We’re enjoying sharing some of our process and as you will see the project will continue to evolve and emerge further over the next few weeks and months, stay tuned for updates.

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