A large steel-framed roof shelters the Misc restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Parramatta, which was designed by local studio Sam Crawford Architects to replace a cafe that was severely damaged by fire.
Located close to the entrance of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Parramatta Park, the white, steel-framed building houses the 300-seat Misc restaurant overlooking a nearby river.
Due to the site’s historic status both as an important site for the Aboriginal Darug people and one of 11 Australian Convict Sites, Sam Crawford Architects was required to minimise the impact of the building, and not exceed the footprint of the former cafe.
“The key design driver was to maintain the footprint of the former cafe building so as to avoid disturbance of significant Indigenous and early European artefacts,” said the practice’s director, Sam Crawford.
“Reuse was also critical – the slab, walls, bricks, many steel windows and doors and some roof trusses were all recycled,” he continued.
“It was a gymnastics exercise – we couldn’t dig anything, the utilities had to remain in the same location, and of course we needed to meet the 21st-century building code and be future proof to adapt for changing uses.”
The pavilion combines more informal cafe spaces to the southwest and formal dining areas to the northeast, separated by a central block containing the kitchen, stores and toilets.
Designed to be open, airy and welcoming, the interior spaces sit beneath the large black trusses of the pitched roof, overlooking the park through full-height windows and a tall, thin cut-out that brings additional light in through the entrance.
At both ends, the building is flanked by external seating areas, and to the southwest the pitched roof cantilevers out and is clad in translucent plastic to create a more sheltered dining space.
“The long metal roof produces a striking form with lightweight and transparent materials to increase the connection between the inside and outside spaces,” explained Crawford.
“The translucent roof at the southwestern end is cantilevered out to create an additional outside covered eating area, increasing dining capacity and giving shade from the afternoon sun.”
The pavilion’s interiors, designed by Nic Graham & Associates, make a feature of its exposed metal and timber structure, with simple wooden furniture and a large, terrazzo-clad counter and rough plasterwork used for the cafe’s bar area.
Sam Crawford founded his eponymous practice in Sydney in 1999. Other projects recently completed by the studio include a bridge in the green landscape of Sydney’s Centennial Park, with a curving form referencing the shimmering appearance of eels.
The photography is by Brett Boardman.