Senorita's Mexican Grill - AIA Newark and Suburban Gold Medal project

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The reuse of existing buildings for new occupancies is a key objective in preserving the fabric of an existing neighborhood. Maintaining the facades that are familiar to the public allows the introduction of new functionality to existing buildings without making drastic changes to the surrounding context.

This structure was an abandoned and dilapidated retail building that was reborn as a three-story restaurant. Minor changes to the front of the ground level made the building more suitable to its new use without significantly changing how it engages the streetscape. The addition of color on the walls, and the new bold fabric awnings, provides a visual clue as to the theme of the restaurant inside.

Inside various elements that are simply utilitarian were given new purpose as key design features. An example of this is seen in the wood roof trusses. Originally unceremonial truss members were cleaned and refinished to create a poignant visual memory that one can recall about the space. A large hole cut in an existing floor allows the upper and lower dining areas to communicate with each other creating a dynamic space.

Ultimately, the adaptive reuse of various elements on the building scale is analogous to how the building is recreated in the scale of its neighborhood context.