2017 AIA Awards – Interior Architecture

Firm: Aidlin Darling Design

Owner: Corey Lee

Location: San Francisco

An exploration of the intersection of art, design, and food at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has turned the concept of museum dining on its head, while inviting visitors to examine their relationship with cuisine.

Accessible from the street as well as from the museum’s atrium, the restaurant hums with the hustle and bustle of the neighborhood and the active kitchen within, while the aesthetic of the dining area is anchored by the interplay of rough and refined wood, leather, and concrete.

From the street, guests enter through a blackened-wood door that boasts an organic wood handle incised with a precise arch for the pull. Evoking a woven textile, a sculptural wood ceiling draws the eye through the space and creates an intimate setting within the building shell. The ceiling’s base slat system allowed the architects to cleverly disguise air venting and lighting. Beneath, carefully curated steel apertures puncture a layer of acoustic felt and oak panels to provide views into the museum’s atrium.

Seating comprises a mixture of floating cottonwood masses, solid ash, and hewn-wood communal tables. An elegant ribbon of concrete, which seems to hover a little more than a foot off of the ground, is a hub for servers attending to customers.

Echoing its setting, the restaurant features vibrant artwork, including a full wall mural by Rosana Castrillo Diaz that reflects differing light conditions throughout the day, including the warm glow of adjacent cottonwood tables.

Additional information

Artist: Rosana Castrillo Diaz, Break This Heart, 2016

Artist: Tucker Nichols, Specials, 2016

Branding, Graphics, Environmental Graphics: a l m project

Custom Pendant Lighting: Boyd Lighting

Custom Server Credenza: Concreteworks

Custom Tables: Arborica

General Contractor: Plant Construction

Kitchen Design Harrison Koellner LLC

Lighting Consultant: JS Nolan & Assoc.

Wood Ceiling: Acosta Millwork


Hagy Belzberg, FAIA (Chair), Belzberg Architects, Santa Monica, California

Jodi R. Ernst, AIA, Universal Studios, Orlando

Karen Fairbanks, AIA, Marble Fairbanks, Brooklyn, New York

Paula Peer, AIA, Trapolin-Peer Architects, New Orleans

Jim Poteet, FAIA, Poteet Architects, LP, San Antonio

Image credits

InSitu 01

Matthew Millman Photography

InSitu(17) 02

Alanna Hale Photography

InSitu(18) 03

Adam Rouse Photography

InSitu(19) 04

Matthew Millman Photography

InSitu(20) 05

Matthew Millman Photography