Light slices / Alexandra Cosma, Veronica Olariu, Ruxandra Sacalis / Bucharest, Romania
The experience of food and architecture
»Every city has its spectrum of tastes and odors. Sales counters on the streets are appetizing exhibitions of smells: creatures of the ocean that smell of seaweed, vegetables carrying the odor of fertile earth, and fruits that extrude the sweet fragrance of sun and moist summer air. The menus displayed outside restaurants makes us fantasies the complete course of a dinner, letters read by the eyes turn into oral sensations “ (Pallasmaa, The eyes of the skin)
The architectural proposal draws its concept from the idea of rediscovering the daily ritual of eating and also the social interaction that comes with it; in other words, to rediscover the pleasure of taking the time to enjoy and appreciate the food one is eating, an experience of tastes and colors that allures the senses and in this way enriches one’s life. There is a social dimension to the ritual of eating and enjoying food, it gathers friends and family, and together with the right atmosphere they make this experience complete.
In consequence, it is important to understand the importance that space has in this particular daily ritual. Eating needs an appropriate intimate space that enhances closeness; the sound, the light and the materials of the space all contribute to a successful atmosphere. The space should complement the food, physically and emotionally. The architecture and the space should delight the senses: the eye rests on a surrounding which contributes to the oral and olfactory experiences awaken by the food’s taste and appetizing smell.
Color is important in creating the interior mood of the space. For example, green is the color of nature, it transmits simplicity, security, balance, white expresses openness and red is a vibrant color, associated with energy, strength, power and is also typical for Russian culture. Red is an emotional intense color which also enhances human metabolism. The project intends to use these colors to express the architectural idea and reach the objective of creating an atmospheric interior for the experience of food.
Food is about nature, colors, smell. The terrace will serve hot cooked food during summer. In consequence the main material chosen for the terrace is wood with its natural fibers and texture. Also, for this purpose, the vegetation has been brought inside the space and among the structural elements in order to bring the visitor closer to nature and to create a pleasant atmosphere.
The floor of the terrace is not just a concrete slab, but it has different sequential levels to create different space characters and to connect it to the ground floor for an easy access. The terrace is realized with glulam wooden elements which have a structural role, but also the role of filtering the light inside the space.
These structural elements are arranged in a progressive evolution. The position and section of the structural elements is determined through a parametric rule. The timber elements are firstly arranged in such way that they gradually approach and distance themselves in order to obtain different light variations and different atmospheres inside the space. The closer they are the more intimate the space becomes; while the more distanced they are, more light comes in and a better relation with the exterior is created. In addition, the distance between the elements, which gradually increases, determines the thickness of each element. In other words, the dimensions of each element are determined by the same gradual rule of progression and they thicken as the distance between the elements increases.
From this lamellar structure of the terrace some individual spaces distinguish themselves as intimate dinning spaces which remind of the dining room from the traditional home. These three small boxes are designed to accommodate maximum six people each, perfect for a family party or a small gathering with friends. Similar boxes are present in the garden as garden pavilions: three extra eating spaces for a summer outdoor breakfast, lunch or dinner or a small private gathering with friends/family. The three garden pavilions have wooden structure and are set on wheels which lift them above the ground and which make them mobile: their configuration within the garden can be changed from season to season.
The rule of positioning the structural elements of the terrace and the presence of the boxes as separate dining rooms allows for the creation of spaces with different atmosphere and hierarchies. The culinary experience is enhanced by the special atmospheres of the terrace: the natural light, the nearness of the garden, the closeness and openness of the different spaces and the natural textures of the materials contribute to an intimate/informal space away from the noise of the city and where one can rejoice with friends or family.
For the façade of the block, the concept proposes to maintain the image of the extruded dining boxes which project outside the terrace’s façade. Similarly, colored window contours project randomly outside the façade’s vertical plan to confer color and dynamicity to the facade.