Austin, TX - 2015
2018 AIA AUSTIN DESIGN AWARD
Texas French Bread is a time-honored institution in Austin – well-known for its popular deli counter, its hand-crafted baked goods, and fine dining. It sits on the boundary between a historic neighborhood and a dense urban area close to The University of Texas. The objective was to take their garden and underutilized picnic area and transform it into a neighborhood asset and an outdoor destination spot for its city-wide customers.
The existing property consisted of 3 distinct areas: the restaurant building, the mostly unimproved garden, and the parking lot which is a barrier between them. The vision for the project was a cross between a neighborhood pocket park and an outdoor dining terrace. The design includes a lush environment with outdoor seating for 40-50 people, strong lateral axis to link to the main entrance of the restaurant, and an entrance from the adjoining sidewalk.
A 44”-diameter live oak tree sits on the lot line between the dining terrace and a new single-family residence. Because of the potential for high-volume foot traffic on-site, the design sacrificed a large useable area under the tree canopy by creating an off-limits zone within the root zone of the tree. Materials and plants were chosen for their durability and low impact on water usage.