An example of subtractive design in which extraneous parts are stripped away to reveal a structure’s core essence, this project converts an abandoned masonry shell into a community gathering spot, co-working space, and coffee shop. Envisioned by its owner as a welcoming place that cultivates connection for all in San Antonio’s Southtown neighborhood, its raw authentic nature reflects the spirit of its surroundings.
Large openings cut into the once solid brick wall signal change at the street level. The building entrance moves back to allow for a courtyard between the street and the new coffee shop within. Guests gather al fresco and reinvigorate the long-dormant corner.
The real drama of subtraction is revealed inside; what originally appeared to be a one-story building included a basement. Auditorium seating leading down to a new stage replaced a level floor. The revealed rear wall is converted into a two-story tall operable glass wall which opens up to an amphitheater that mirrors the auditorium inside. The result is an unpretentious space where people can come as they are for events, engagement, and connection.