Posts tagged with "cafes":

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In Buffalo, Davidson Rafailidis tackles big challenges with unique sensibility

The Architectural League of New York’s Emerging Voices award and lecture series highlights individuals and firms with distinct design “voices,” singling out those with the potential to go on to even greater heights. 2018 saw two rounds of judging; first by a panel of past Emerging Voices winners, and a second to pick the winners. The first-round jury included Virginia San Fratello, Sebastian Schmaling, Wonne Ickx, Lola Sheppard, Marcelo Spina, Carlos Jimenez, and Marlon Blackwell, as well as members of the second-round jury, Sunil Bald, Lisa Gray, Stella Betts, Jing Liu, Paul Makovsky, Tom Phifer, Chris Reed, and Billie Tsien. AN profiled all of the emerging voices firms in our February print issue. Davidson Rafailidis founders Stephanie Davidson and Georg Rafailidis will deliver their lecture on March 15, 2018, at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan. Spatial planning is king at Davidson Rafailidis. It has to be, because the small husband-and wife-run studio is focused on designing tight projects with equally tight budgets that can be adapted for long-term use. Both founding partners, Stephanie Davidson and Georg Rafailidis, teach in the nearby State University of New York at Buffalo’s architecture department and frequently integrate more academic theory into their built projects than a traditional studio. It’s a natural progression, as the couple originally met while they were students at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, in London. “In the end, the realized projects are very similar to essays,” explained Davidson. “When the project is inhabited and really comes alive, we always try to keep tabs, even on private projects, to see how they’re used and what changes and what needs to be adapted. We see that as ongoing research, to see how people respond to our ongoing spatial interventions.” Nowhere is this approach more evident than in the studio’s 2015 transformation of a formerly vacant corner store in Buffalo into the vibrant Cafe Fargo (now under the name, Tipico Coffee). The coffee shop strips the monolithic brick building back to its raw materials and introduces colored tiles throughout to delineate the new space from the old. Working under serious budget constraints, Davidson Rafailidis was forced to “make machinery itself the architecture,” according to Rafailidis. Instead of using a bulky HVAC system, the studio installed large operable windows and a skylight, for passive cooling, and a wood-burning "kachelofen" hearth, clad in tile, that provides ambient heat. Most tellingly, Rafailidis said that guests often don’t realize that the heater is a new addition to the space. The cafe has grown to host pop-up events and public gatherings, reinforcing the building’s continually evolving relationship with its users. The 2016 project He, She & It, a tripartite studio space in Buffalo for a creative couple, unifies a painter’s studio (He), ceramic and silver-working area (She), and greenhouse (It) under one umbrella. While each space has a vastly different use, all of them use a mono-pitched roof with a long overhang to funnel rainwater into a garden at the building’s base. Each space relies on passive heating and cooling, as well as natural overhead lighting, and the greenhouse can be opened up to share its solar gain with the working spaces in colder months. He, She & It has won its fair share of acclaim in the last year—though if this recognition has made Davidson and Rafailidis’s lives more hectic, they can’t tell. “It’s really a challenge with our small size. Even to go to see a building someone wants to show us can take half of our workday,” said Davidson. “Both of us are on AutoCAD, and on Rhino, and making models, and also going to meetings; it’s a big challenge. It doesn’t feel like it’s more work, because we’ve become accustomed to this crazy schedule.”
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This Dallas cafe and craft cocktail bar bucks every hipster design stereotype

Quick: Picture a hipster coffee shop. If reclaimed wood and Edison bulbs came to mind, there are two Dallas architects that would like to treat your eyes to something completely different.

”For Houndstooth Coffee, we were very consciously trying to break the trend of that typical hipster coffee shop,” said Mark Leveno, cofounding principal of OFFICIAL. “We were going for something a little more sophisticated.”

Although the Sylvan Avenue location is Houndstooth’s fourth, it doesn’t have a chain-like visual identity so Mark and partner Amy Wynne Leveno were given freedom to design down to the very last detail. Better yet, Houndstooth owner Sean Henry asked the firm to extend its ideas to Jettison, a sister cocktail bar in the same building.

The interiors offered substantial volume, allowing OFFICIAL to calibrate the sense of scale in the day-and-night spaces. “We looked at the whole space in section first to create a cafe and bar that were different, but related,” Amy said. That thinking is most evident up top: To balance the 16-foot-plus ceilings with a cafe coziness, the architects designed a “cloud” over the Houndstooth coffee bar to conceal the mechanical equipment. In Jettison, the mirror is a recessed “celestial void” lighting scheme made of painted gold trusses—and acts as a plenum space for the air conditioner. Concentrating mechanical functions in this way allowed the architects to keep the trusses in both spaces clean; the bright white Houndstooth ceiling foils Jettison’s sleek velvet finishes.

The cafe’s focal point, a circular service counter, would look right at home in a real bar—and that’s on purpose. Houndstooth is serious about coffee; baristas are as well versed in their brews and beans as they are in the perfect pour. Laptop-toting young people and families have a choice of seating: There’s a patio, communal tables, and stadium seating in the form of double-tiered oak benches that kids like to climb on.

Being Dallas, there’s opportunity for outdoor drinking. The patio was a “weird throwaway space” that came with the building, but the architects adopted it into their vision with a bold houndstooth-patterned screen that casts great shadows as it separates patrons from a busy road.

The concept is OFFICIAL’s, down to the fixtures and furnishings. The firm designed and fabricated the wall-mounted matte-gold metal lights that cantilever bare bulbs above the tables in Houndstooth, as well as the lean, vertical, perforated fixture mounted to the barside wall in Jettison. The duo always looks for opportunities for custom work: Along with to oak tables in Houndstooth and the Spanish cedar tables on the patio, Mark and Amy have created pieces that could work in other spaces, like a light fixture they designed for a client’s house in Austin. (“Every architect has a chair, so we’re trying something different,” said Mark.)

“It’s fun seeing this location on social media,” he added. “Typically people take pictures of their coffee, but they’re also taking pictures of the space, engaging with the architecture.” Both bar and coffee shop opened in July 2016, and so far the internet agrees: “Would have to say this is the best-designed coffee shop in Dallas,” said Google user Jeremy Turner. And not an Edison bulb in sight.

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Just six logs keep this cafe warm and cozy in Buffalo, New York

Wintry Buffalo, New York is about the last place you might expect to find a building with no mechanical HVAC system. Yet that's where a pair of architects fired up their custom-designed masonry heater, also called a kachelofen, which warms a contemporary cafe space by burning just six logs per day—even through a record-breaking winter where the average temperature was just 22.8 degrees. Where possible, architects are increasingly ditching mechanical heating and cooling systems to cut carbon footprints and sometimes budgets. But frigid western New York is a tough climate to tackle without the benefits of modern mechanical heating. University at Buffalo architects Stephanie Davidson and Georg Rafailidis, who run their own practice, pulled it off using a specially engineered masonry heater. Their kachelofen (pronounced KA-hell-oh-fen) is a wood stove that on a typical day slowly radiates the heat from a single, hour-long burn over the following 24 hours. A long, rectangular flue pipes smoke from the burn around a doubled-over, 30-foot loop, warming up as exhaust from the fire flows through. Charlotte Hsu from The University at Buffalo quotes Davidson:
“Very long horizontal flues are unusual because smoke wants to go up, so it’s very challenging to keep it from stagnating,” says Davidson, a UB clinical assistant professor of architecture. “Many of the masons we talked to said they couldn’t do a horizontal flue longer than 8 feet.”
Rochester, New York's Empire Masonry Heaters could, however. They helped the architects enliven the flue chamber, covering the refractory cement with patterned tiles reminiscent of an intricate mosaic. Their ornamental chamber doubles as a café bench. The kachelofen is known in North America simply as a masonry heater. While its winter-busting abilities are new to Buffalo, it is a centuries-old form of heating in Northern Europe. North America is “a fertile ground for new developments on masonry heater construction,” said the architects of the cheekily-dubbed Cafe Fargo. “It seems also with a widening consciousness about 'green' forms of heating, and rising heating costs, the good old masonry heater is grabbing peoples' interest,” they told AN. At only 880 square feet, their cafe is well-suited to the system. But Davidson and Rafailidis said masonry heating could work in larger spaces, too, but it might require several heaters to evenly heat multiple rooms. Wood-fired systems also need to be constantly monitored. Buffalo takes a degree of pride in its cold and snowy conditions, but if you've warmed up to the radiant heat of Cafe Fargo you may want to drop by—it's still looking for a tenant.