From the drawing board – Beachfront bar and restaurant (ECR – Chennai)

Asked by a renowned Chennai developer to work on the concept for a beachfront eatery we looked at some reference work of Bedmar & Shi, Rahul Mehrotra and John Pawson as their rather minimalist approach suited us in several ways:

  • the envisioned building needs to comply with the strict coastal regulation zones and had to be of a temporary character and modular lightweight structure
  • the larger master plan for the larger resort foresees already the location and even the rough outlines/footprint of the restaurant and we wanted to keep the collaboration with the main architects conflict-free and easy
  • our studio always aims at concentrating on the key elements / the core idea and a minimalist, resource-conscious approach is ingrained in our design ideology.

Reference 01 - Bedmar & Shi

Above: a recent structure by Bedmar & Shi in Thailand immediately caught our attention for its beautiful concept and built elegance.

Reference 04 - Rahul Mehrotra

Reference 01 - Rahul Mehrotra

Reference 03 - Rahul Mehrotra

Above: the simple think-tank building for the Tata Institute of Social Sciences Rural Campus in Goa designed by Rahul Mehrotra Associates

Reference 01 - John Pawson

Reference 03 - John Pawson

Above: the Tilty Barn project by John Pawson – a beautiful conversion of an old barn into a contemporary residence.


Above: the given landscape plan we had to work with and which we wanted as much as possible to respect to easily integrate our work in the larger context.

Inspired by these masterworks and keeping the existing framework in mind, we placed a single rectangular structure parallel to the beachfront housing the entrance and the main – enclosed and air-conditioned – restaurant fronted by a large sun deck with appropriate tree cover.

To the Southern side the required services find their place: the kitchen and kitchen storage area (housed in a shipping container to keep things simple) and the bathrooms designed to fit the overall beach theme as lightweight almost vernacular structure surrounded by inspiring landscape elements.

2017-02-11_ARF_Concept Plan

Above: the final concept plan. Water elements can easily be exchanged with sand gardens in case water and the creation of large water-holding pond areas becomes an issue.

2017-02-10_View 01

The view from North-East showing the entire ensemble. Large gabion walls maintain the local character of compound walls made of granite blocks and help to clearly demarcate the area of the restaurant to the remaining landscape.

2017-02-10_View 02

A view from the beach.

2017-02-10_View 03

A view over the outdoor area – seating under shade trees with the enclosed restaurant in the background. The service areas are easily accessible but nicely tucked away behind a long wall (2100mm/7′ high) which can be treated as relief wall (see the elaborate relief works in nearby Mamallapuram) or themselves serve as a nice background to various ornamental plants.

2017-02-10_View 04

The entrance area seen from the main resort area. A large roof – ideally made of wooden planks or reet – covers the access and the main air-conditioned restaurant. A clean landmark, simple and unobtrusive yet of a distinct individual character.

2017-02-10_View 06

The entrance with a soft play of furniture, sculptures, light and the ever-present sea.

2017-02-10_View 05

The main climate-controlled restaurant … An easy space to relax, socialize, enjoy …

We hope to be able to continue the work on this project and if yes, will keep updating 🙂



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