May 14, 2010

Stomping Grounds Cafe

This coffee house and restaurant is part of Ames’ up and coming Campustown district.  With an aggressive timeline and vision to create a European style cafe, the renovation included the phased redevelopment of two-thirds of an existing building containing multiple tenant spaces into a singular business entity.

The challenge of consolidating multiple tenant spaces into a singular space provided an opportunity to create different zones within the restaurant to allow varying levels of privacy for visitors.  Raised platforms with formal and informal seating provide optimal sight lines to see and be seen while alcoves provide quiet retreats from the lively coffee shop for relaxation and rejuvenation.  Furthermore, the raised platforms form an inherently dramatic ‘stage’ providing a live venue for performing artists.

As part of the phased renovation, the kitchen was expanded and made more efficient.  Consequently the owner has been able to greatly expand the restaurant menu to include a diverse array of food and beverage offerings, making it a destination eatery within the district.

Direct lighting was incorporated at the various wall expanses within the space to allow the restaurant to double as an art gallery for local artists.  The resultant effect of the gallery space, coupled with the dramatic interior design and excellent food and beverage offerings have effectively created a lively ‘third place,’ a social environment separate from the home and the workplace.  Ultimately, the aggressive vision of the owner and the successful realization of that vision for the designed space have allowed Stomping Grounds to become a model business for the redemptive process in the Campustown district.

Project Team

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Sam Stagg, AIA