When the Lancaster City Council was seeking ideas for a landmark design to fill the open space between the sea and the promenade, Arca Architects responded with a unorthodox design which would transform the face of a quiet seaside town in England. Sandwiched between the promenade and the tall sea wall, a small café would have a good view of the wall—but not the bay. Arca suggested raising the café’s floor level above the sea wall to open up a spectacular vista. The team also recommended shelter for the outdoor spaces to encourage patrons to take in the fresh air.
Using Vectorworks Architects software’s high-quality 3D and rendering capabilities to produce visualizations, the team built consensus among the council and the local community. When Arca changed the original material from rubber cladding to stainless steel, it was easy for all stakeholders to see the difference in the elevation drawings and approve the change. Architect John Lee’s team also typically works in 3D to better visualize their work, and this capability helped them understand the Silver Café’s more complicated geometry. “The ability to use a similar toolset for 3D work makes it easier for designers to use the 3D capabilities for communicating complex problems, or for more formal presentations,” Lee says.
The team completed Silver Café in the summer of 2008, and it opened after a tenant fit-out in September of the same year. The Silver Café also won the 2009 Small Scale Commercial Award from the Manchester Society of Architects (MSA).
Alongside the grand old buildings that have stood by the seaside for a century, The Silver Café is an attraction in itself, thanks to Arca’s signature design.
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