Rehabilitating one of Bucharest’s charmingly old buildings is no picnic at the park. Reviving what was once a stunning architectural masterpiece and modernizing it to fit a modern kitchen and bar was brilliantly executed by Romanian studio SYAA Architecture (Soare & Yokina Associated Architects) and Cella Cosimex construction and restoration. An amazingly intricate project inside-out, this new restaurant & bar in Bucharest is something worth visiting and admiring.
Built in the early 20th century, the house that shelters the Simbio Kitchen & Bar was mostly adorned with custom furniture and a few key items found by the owners at flea markets, in warehouses and on the internet. The team of architects that made this project possible is made of architect Eliza Yokina, architect Irina Plopeanu, architect Cosmin Anghelache, and architect Simina Ignat. They saw with the mind’s eye how the old house could be transformed into a place where people meet to grab a bite together or come to work undisturbed on their projects. They collaborated with the owners to create a sense of freedom and coziness in the middle of Romania’s capital.
According to SYAA Architecture, “the space had two roles to play: to be perfectly functional for the restaurant, but also to be representative for the house on 26 Negustorilor Street that existed for a century there.” The project comprises the rehabilitation and interior design for a new restaurant and bar opened by Dana Nica and Iulia Younis. Spreading over 360 square meters, spaces photographed by Catalin Georgescu look awfully inviting.
“It was exciting the first contact with the house: quiet, beautiful, dark, with its green light filtered by the abundant garden, with smoked stoves, pale mirrors, and heavy furniture. The house had already well defined spaces: the lounge with skylight, the green stove room, the small room, the great room, the staircase, the basement with brick arches … It was obvious from the beginning that the bar will be at the basement, the restaurant with show kitchen on the ground floor and the working space in the attic. We just accommodated the functional scenario as efficiently as possible in the existing spaces, meaning in some cases gaps in the walls, non-structural walls changes, and generally minimal interventions.”
After minimally intervening on the building’s spaces, the WOW factor was introduced through carefully selected alterations: “We have taken some measures that have impacted quite decisively on the house look like eliminating the eaves – nonspecific to the Venetian style in architecture, the Cartesian model introduced on the facade and the newly built roof terrace.”
So you see how love for the old can beautifully blend in with the new, creating exceptional spaces? Romania has many historic buildings beautifully renovated, so come see the Alt Club, an Exclusive IT Club in Romania Occupying a Historic Building in Timisoara.
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.
An example of a huge success is Heneghan Peng Architects’ Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Using the large difference in level across the site, the architects created two folds in the landscape. Bold, but not conflicting with the rather bleak natural environment, these folds draw all the man-made areas together and create one fitting man-made break in the natural landscape. In the words of the architects themselves, There is no longer a building and a landscape, but building becomes landscape and the landscape itself remains spectacular and iconic