Faculty member: Prof. Jeff Ponitz
Institute for Molecular Gastronomy
Located in the heart of San Francisco's Mission District, the Institute of Molecular Gastronomy teaches the public the entire process of cooking, from "plant to the plate." The design reflects this concept by forming two dense boxes, one floating above the other. The grounded box contains program involving teaching or learning about molecular gastronomy. The floating box represents the plant aspect of cooking, as it houses the teaching kitchens as well as a museum and roof garden. When these two boxes come together, they form a space that houses the restaurant, which is then pierced by columns that define the circulation spaces throughout the structure.
The facade of the institute begins to play off the column field within the building. By imposing itself among the two separated boxes, it creates a sense of scale and fineness. This can be noticed even more within the spaces as the column field directly relates to the façade. By doing this, the building becomes one cohesive structure instead of multiple ideas. The facade serves the main purpose of partially enclosing the spaces during the day, but this effect is drastically reversed at night. The light emitting from the interior acts as vibrant lantern that will help enliven the Mission District at night.