Cafe Fargo by Davidson Rafailidis | Yellowtrace

Cafe Fargo by Davidson Rafailidis | Yellowtrace

Cafe Fargo by Davidson Rafailidis | Yellowtrace

Cafe Fargo by Davidson Rafailidis | Yellowtrace

Cafe Fargo by Davidson Rafailidis | Yellowtrace

Cafe Fargo by Davidson Rafailidis | Yellowtrace

Cafe Fargo by Davidson Rafailidis | Yellowtrace

 

Architects: .
Location: Buffalo, NY, USA.
Year completed: 2014.
Area: 82 sqm.
Photography: .

 

Cafe Fargo by Davidson Rafailidis Architecture, converts a formerly neglected corner store into a small coffee shop in residential area of Buffalo. The original corner store, built in 1929, is a monolithic brick addition to the corner of a 3-story house built in 1880. Working with a tight budget, and to avoid the large amount of construction cost associated with climate control systems, the studio decided to make these systems an integral part of the space by transforming invisible mechanical services into two experiential architectural elements. During warm months, extra-large operable windows and skylights open the space to provide natural ventilation and passive cooling. For winter months, a large-scale wood burning Kachelofen (masonry heater) provides a radiant heat source.

Café Fargo features a dynamic inhabitation pattern, where occupation is constantly moving based on the needs of the customers. The café is structured in three bands, wrapping around the corner of the historic house. The innermost band consists of the large-scale Kachelofen, constructed as a long, horizontal, heated bench and a vertical tower. The tower forms a spatial pocket that contains the bathroom. The outermost band consists of the large-scale folding-sliding windows with thick oak sills extended into benches. By blurring the barrier between interior and exterior the area feels like a covered patio. The lights are held-up on the old tin ceiling with magnets, allowing the lighting patterns to change and follow different seating arrangements throughout the year.

To aid in the transition of seating, the team designed a height-adjustable table. The tabletop, fixed to a tripod base with a threaded rod is spun in either direction, raising or lowering the height. The renovation consisted mainly of stripping away the various floor, wall and ceiling surfaces that had accumulated over the years, until they reached a surface with material integrity. “We avoided any form of additional cladding, trimming or wall coverings. As elements were stripped away, the space and its relationship to the older house, became more legible.” The large, experiential elements offer users powerful physical relationships independent from any specific program, making it an alluring space for many future affordances.

 

 


[Images courtesy of . Photography © .]

 


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