Another building tonight by one of my favs, BIG Architects… but something decidedly different in scale, scope, and form from much of their other work. It is a restaurant that becomes a village.
The starting point for the project is itself quite nifty, the adaptive reuse of a protected warehouse that once stored mines (explosives!) for the Royal Danish Army (that is also, humorously, across the river from and affords a great view of BIG’s power plant and ski slope (I am not making that up… this is an actual thing!)). Due to the landmarked status of the building, the buildable area was very limited, only being allowed in the small areas where small extensions had been erected in times past. The client was an avant-garde restaurant serving reinvention of Nordic cuisine. Oh, and they wanted greenhouses to supply their kitchen. Ready? Go!
The result is quite glorious. BIG settled on three main starting points: filling the existing landmarked structure with the “back of house” functions, off of which hangs a kitchen that in turn off of which radiates a number of small pavilions to form a village of architectural forms. Each one of these pavilions has its own character both inside and out, and each have their privileged views both outwards towards the nature preserve, water, or the city, while each also have a view to the central and open service kitchen.
There’s a lot of beauty to be found here in the meticulous detailing of all the seemingly disparate buildings. Brick roofs! Highly articulated ceilings with glowing skylights! Striated stone walls! Rough brick and sensual wood! A feeling of old and new dancing together! Cozy enclosure and expansive windows! And to literally top it all off, an amazing glass roof that connects everything together.
And while it might be considered “dead simple”, the entry way is what entices me the most for the way it serenely presents itself, a lovely mass of steel and wood, seemingly-symmetrical-but-in-actuality nestled between two differently crafted pavilions. The proportions, the combination of materials, the way the overhang invites and calls forward, it’s all so very well done.
Yeah, gotta add this one to my list of places to visit (even if I can’t get a reservation within). There’s something magical in this assemblage, and I want to experience it in person.