This culinary emporium, the first collaboration between two of our long-time clients and Toronto gastronomic empresarios, imagines a redefined gastronomic experience through the transformation of the landmark Postal ‘K’ building. Beginning with the name: STOCK implies stocked shelves, chicken stock, stockyards — a theatre of food, considered and presented in a trajectory ‘from raw to refined’. Just as bountifully shelves and counters display raw ingredients and comestibles, and the restaurant serves artful plates, materials and architectural elements are interpreted in degrees of ‘unrefined to refined’ as one moves from the ground level market and ‘tavola calda’ to the bistro, bar, and event experiences on the second and third levels.
Located at a significant urban junction, ever-increasingly stimulated by development, the restoration and repurposing of the historic structure at Toronto’s Postal Station K, champions a newfound cultural experience. Shaped by the site’s heritage it is a centre for connectivity and innovation, architecturally stacking and collapsing the now derelict elements of the historic building into inventive layers of the present and appropriating the dynamic rhythms of the city. Fueled by the governing principles of the city- the rich and relaxed mix of cultures and expectations- the process of abstracting and reinstating these elements of the heritage building curate an extraordinary gastronomic emporium.
STOCK repurposes the evacuated 1930’s masonry landmark building. The project breathes new life into the vintage structure and allows new interior interventions to work with building environmental systems to increase insulation and ventilation to optimize energy efficiency. Window shading systems, including the replacement of ground floor window awnings, are instrumental in limiting heat gain and therefor cooling loads. The restoration of existing terrazzo, exposed concrete, masonry, and exist stair wells is key to our strategy for built-in availability of new material and skillful details. STOCK is designed to extend the life of this historic site as a kind of public interior that recalls the building’s history, now incorporated as generative design elements.
The stacking of gastronomic spaces unified by an architecture that reinforces a consistent theatrical voice was both a challenge and a strength. The charged thresholds between the 3 levels are enriched by ghosted vestiges of the historic building, such as custom ‘coffer’ lights; postage stamp mosaic flooring, and ’filing cabinet’ felt ceiling baffles. The ground level introduces the experience as a kind of kitchen and pantry, filled with personally selected comestibles and flowers displayed on ‘raw’ shelving. Anchored by large butchery and bakery counters, the space is collected under a rippling felt proscenium. Glimpses to the ‘back-stage’ kitchens lead patrons to ready-to-eat takeaway counters and seating to enjoy the fresh offerings on the spot. The second-floor bistro presents an orchestra of kitchens, open to a gallery of butter-yellow tufted leather banquettes and cork paneling. The island bar is designed to bridge day-to-night experiences, framed by a glittering proscenium mosaic of a sublime pink sunrise. Above the bistro is a purpose-built, glass garden room. Almost 100 seats of the main dining room are flexible to accommodate arrangements for various functions all year round. This event space takes full advantage of its roof-top view and is surrounded by a lush terrace along the vintage cornice of its host building. Throughout, the omnipresence of food preparation, with a clear ‘backstage’ treatment, mixes with the building materials to enliven the senses.
“From the deckle-edged floors reminiscent of postage stamps in homage to the building’s previous incarnation, to the custom mosaic depicting a Canadian Shield sunset, all lit by the glowing of custom lighting- the new design evokes the nostalgia of classic American bistros couples with the homey comforts of a well-seasoned kitchen” -STOCK t.c
Giannone Petricone Associates Inc. Architects is a Toronto‑based design firm led since 1995 by principals Ralph Giannone and Pina Petricone. We are architects with work that extends from the scales of “the spoon to the city.” We are committed to contributing to a vibrant environment and see our projects as a careful choreography of architectural design, interior design, environmental design, and public realm experiences. Regardless of scale, our measure of quality is a project’s ability to positively transform and better everyday life.