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Friday, August 13, 2010

31 in 31: #13

This is a series for August 2010 which documents my on-the-ground -- and on-the-webs -- research for my guidebook to contemporary NYC architecture (to be released next year by W. W. Norton). Archives can be found at the bottom of the post and via the 31 in 31 label.

Pio Pio Restaurant

In new residential developments the retail spaces are sized to Big Box retailers, not Mom-and-Pop shops. This has the effect of creating deep and sometimes awkward spaces that are difficult to fill if one is not a national chain of some sort. The space at 604 Tenth Avenue, at the base of a nine-story corner condo building, is no different, but Sebastian Mariscal Studio did an excellent job with the "flag lot" space for Pio Pio Restaurant. From the street the space is only a square storefront opening (above) next to the glass entry doors. One walks past a long bar to reach the dining room.

Pio Pio Restaurant

The dining room itself is two stories, with some tables overlooking the double-height space below. A stair, in in line with the movement from front to back, turns ninety degrees to deliver people to this impressive space. Materials throughout are wood, stone, and concrete, but it is the "4,000 6-foot-long Ocotillo branches--a sustainable Mexican plant that had been dried and de-barked"--that steal the show, enveloping the whole space. Mariscal has described the L-shape lot as ideal for heightening a sense of anticipation. Having seen photos of the dining room but not knowing the plan before going, I'll admit the experience very well choreographed. Of course it helps that the interior design is so impressive and so different from the realm outside.

#1 - Phyto Universe
#2 - One Bryant Park
#3 - Pier 62 Carousel
#4 - Bronx River Art Center
#5 - The Pencil Factory
#6 - Westbeth Artists' Housing
#7 - 23 Beekman Place
#8 - Metal Shutter Houses
#9 - Bronx Box
#10 - American Academy of Arts and Letters
#11 - FDR Four Freedoms Park
#12 - One Madison Park

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