At an intersection of the city where the tourist, Ryerson community, shopping and LGBT community meet, the proposed site is situated within the confines of an existing diner and an unused 2nd floor residence. Hemmed in by both a physically constrained space as well as a short 5 year lease term, Ramen Santouka is a compact and efficient restaurant space that evokes the hustle-bustle of Sapporo Ramen shops, yet retains a calm, refined demeanor.
Clad in black stained cedar, the interior of the space is a double height volume, with the existing joists left intact, and multitudes of clear globe lights suspended in random sequence within. All table and counter surfaces are three inch solid ash, and the chairs are classic Thonet dining chairs in gloss white.
The design of the restaurant focuses on the service counter and bar at the center of the space, nearly bisecting the small building longitudinally, with the dining room on one side and the service areas on the other. Here both eating and preparation are equal parts theatre. The kitchen is arranged in a linear manner according to in-depth consultation with the client so that all work is choreographed in an efficient and logical way. To display this activity, there is a counter facing the kitchen with a long, linear window into the kitchen. Parallel to this is the dining room, beyond which is the street, visible through a mullion-less storefront window. At the window is a frosted glass display shelf which displays finely crafted replica models of each item on the menu – a point of fascination for many patrons and passersby alike – while also screening the patrons on the other side of the frosted glass.
Here then is a compaction of foreground and background from the street: the preview of the food in model form, and then the diners themselves, enjoying their meal, and then the service counter and beyond, in cropped form within the linear window, the preparation and cooking.