The design of the new Pusdaee’s Garden Restaurant evolved from the owner’s desire to create a garden oasis within the dense urban fabric of the city. Located along Butler Street in Pittsburgh’s upper Lawrenceville neighborhood, the original Thai restaurant operated for a decade from a small storefront of a 100-year-old brick commercial rowhouse building. After acquiring another 100-year-old rowhouse and the vacant property between the buildings, mossArchitects was hired to expand the restaurant and create a unique courtyard garden dining experience.
Rather than tearing down the existing historic buildings, a design solution was developed that allowed the space between them to be enclosed by two connecting additions and become an expansive hidden garden courtyard. At the front of the site, a new brick wall is introduced as a threshold that provides a barrier to the busy urban street, privacy to the interior garden, and a connective arcade between the two existing buildings. Slot windows are incorporated into the arcade providing small glimpses into the garden space. Upon entering, expansive windows provide the first complete view of the courtyard.
The centerpiece of the restaurant is the garden courtyard which features a steel 15’ tall glass box pavilion housing the bar, with its soaring ceiling, monolithic natural marble bar, a full height herringbone tile feature wall, and glass wine display cooler. Within the courtyard, a variety of materials and plantings are designed with consideration for all four seasons. A simple, quiet architectural palette of materials are chosen to allow the landscape to shine through, creating a delicate interaction between old and new. Existing brick facades offer rich historic texture, in contrast with the elegant new contemporary additions.
The interior restaurant is transformed into four new dining room vignettes, each with their own materiality and artwork, including a large open event dining room. A reserved, natural palette and layering of interior materials connects and mimics the natural beauty of the courtyard. Large exterior masonry openings are added to the existing buildings to drastically alter the relationship between the interior and exterior, allowing for garden views from every room.
The second rear addition completes the enclosure of the garden courtyard including a new open-style kitchen and restrooms. With a prominent view to the courtyard, the open kitchen is the heart of the restaurant featuring traditional Thai charcoal grills, marble countertop, and custom bronze panels with live patina finish which surround the cooking hoods.
The complete design captures the magic of an intimate and tranquil dining experience that seamlessly transports guests away from the city and into a lush and welcoming garden oasis.