As a new home to a relocated commercial venture in a transitioning area of Chilliwack, BC, this restaurant building's design combines the restaurant's established brand with its Fraser Valley context. The design is therefore rooted in the integration of two 'spirits': the rustic Italian vernacular and contemporary Pacific Northwest sensibilities. To that end, the unapologetic modern architecture gestures a “nod” towards the Italian rustic (to reflect the restaurant’s house‐made Italian cuisine). A prominent stone “spine” is reminiscent of historic Italian structures, as it carries from the entrance through into the interior of the building to define a central bar, and to separate the lounge and general dining areas. The interior spaces also give form to the building and its extension to the exterior context.
Located in a automobile-oriented, commercial zone just outside Chilliwack, BC, the challenge of relating to the busy arterial road while creating a friendly, pedestrian‐scaled building is addressed by locating the building close and parallel to the street, and by buffering it with a soft landscaped patio and trellis. Parking is screened and relegated to the rear of the building. This project is a first step in taming the surroundings by softening the arterial edge and by creating a "glue" that connects to adjacent residential areas.
The exterior space integrates pedestrian and vehicular traffic within the landscape, inspired by the Italian village “piazza” and the Fraser Valley landscape. The patio is sheltered by a cedar slat‐wall trellis and landscaping to allow customers to dine outdoors in tranquility, in spite of the adjacent busy street and frequent Fraser Valley winds.
The site allows integration of cars and people for a pedestrian‐friendly building interface. The entrance way is a modern, covered porte‐cochère with a vehicular drop‐off and a pedestrian walkway to the street and adjacent properties. This blends with the contrasting, traditional “Roman style” paving which is reminiscent of an Italian town square‐ or “piazza”‐ right at the vehicular entrance.