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Old Posted Jul 14, 2007, 11:04 AM
Jeff_in_Dayton Jeff_in_Dayton is offline
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A Pizza Parlor with extra toppings.

Dayton is actually pretty useless when in comes to architecture. Its not that things are actively bad. its just that things are mediocre and stupid when they could be better with a bit more in the budget for attention to detail and finishes and maybe just better thought to composition.

A counterexample is this pizza parlor from the Cincinnati chain called "Deweys". The site is near the University of Dayton, about a half-block off of Brown Steet, the main drag in this neighborhood. The area is undergoing residential redevelopment as a joint venture between the university and a big hospital a few blocks to the north, and there is some commercial infill going on on Brown.

This pizza parlor is designed to look like a commercial building from the 1920s or teens. Maybe like an old garage converted to a pizza parlor. But it’s the detailing that makes this building work so well.

This carries over even to the sidewall facing the parking lot, which has a sidewalk along side. The architect designed this to look like a conversion, with filled-in windows and lights above the windows, to activate what would be a pretty blank wall.

The front façade is really great. The masonry detailing (mixture of stone coping and trim with brick and the shallow pediment) is a throwback to early 20th century commercial architecture, but the use of a modern I-beam as a decorative as well as functional lintel is a great modern touch. And then there is that fun retro-neon sign, perhaps harking back to the 1950s or late 40s. The little spots above the windows work too, as they would be lighting up the canopies below, turning the façade into a nighttime advertisement.

During the day the big windows would provide lots of natural light into the interior.

Entry is not via the front, but through a little side yard shared with another restaurant. This is a great little sequence.

The design doesn’t skimp on this façade as well. Note the stone lintels, light fixtures, and especially the way they use the windows treatment, drain pipes and scupper boxes to articulate and break up the bare wall the façade. It might have been cheaper to have less drains or roof drains rather than scuppers and leads, but they spent a bit more $$ to make this façade look better.

This is a real cool bit of detailing. Functional articulation via materials. The brick part is the dining area, and the concrete block part is the kitchen and food storage. They are pulled apart, the kitchen area pulled out a bit, and one enters between them via this glass box….with that canopy piece pulled out with circular can lights inside (which is somewhat reminiscent of the 1950s and early 60s commercial architecture.

….and there is that D logo as an accent, and the little metal fence by the gas meter, too. Like I was saying, lots of attention to detail here….

Inside the glass box entry (and this would be really noticeable at night) is this fab MCM light fixture, globe lights mixed with small “afterburner” tailfin lamps, done up in chrome.

Walking into the restaurant, kitchen area on the right, with a window where you can watch them make pizza while waiting to be seated.. The space is compressed here….

…but really opens up in the dining area. Sitting at the window, one can see the box treatment on the roof, by the entrance, and the bar set at an angle to activate the space a bit, with the line of the bar leading your eye to the kitchen window to the rear. Mix of light fixtures is fun, including those pendant lamps over the bar. Diamond or harlequin motif carried in from the awning to the floor.

.And the outside again. I don’t know if Dewey’s has an in-house architect or if they contract with a Cincinnati firm to do their designs, but they did a really, really good job with this place, which is, after all, just a pizza parlor. Just to show you that good urban architecture can be still done, even for humble commercial uses.


….and a bit of context…next door to Dewey’s, across a side yard, some more commercial infill.

Down the street. To the right is a Panera Bread, which is a pretty good bit of infill too. In the background is a new University of Dayton building on Brown Street, which has a mix of student housing on top and retail space below..

More of that UD building.

Another piece of commercial infill going up on Brown, closer to Miami Valley Hospital

And the hospital, dominating the neighborhood skyline like a modern version of an old loft factory building.

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Old Posted Jul 14, 2007, 1:58 PM
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Stephenapolis Stephenapolis is offline
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Nice infill. But is the pizza any good? That is what people will remember.
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Old Posted Jul 14, 2007, 4:39 PM
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rockyi rockyi is offline
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I like the back of the building with the "filled in windows."
It's a great idea but we have authentic but empty buildings like that all over around here. They wouldn't have to build a new one, just renovate an existing one, that way every restaurant would be just a little different.
My feet hurt!
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Old Posted Jul 14, 2007, 5:11 PM
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chrizow chrizow is offline
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Originally Posted by Stephenapolis View Post
Nice infill. But is the pizza any good? That is what people will remember.
dewey's pizza is stellar. i've been to one in st. louis.

cool idea too...it you're going to build brand new infill, it helps to add little touches like that.
why, it's raining again. let's stop, shall we, under this portico?
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Old Posted Jul 14, 2007, 5:16 PM
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Lecom Lecom is offline
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Hmm, so in places they can't gentrify anything cause they have no buildings to gentrify, they build already gentrified buildings from the ground up. Interesting.

I find the rear of the building to be the most interesting aspect. The "filled-in windows" do look tacky, but it's a fascinating approach to making a windowless rear wall look interesting, yet noninvasive. I wonder what the people who have no special interest in architecture think of such architectural cheating, though ("Why the hell would these bozos make windows there just to lay them over with bricks? Did they want to make the back side all nice and pretty but then they realized that kitchens don't need windows, so they did a sloppy job of filling them in? Damn, these architects need to think before they build, not the other way around.")
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Old Posted Jul 14, 2007, 9:11 PM
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KevinFromTexas KevinFromTexas is offline
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That's pretty nice. The sign's a bit questionable, but the architecture is good, though. I likes it.
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Old Posted Jul 14, 2007, 10:56 PM
Jeff_in_Dayton Jeff_in_Dayton is offline
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That wall with the blocked-up windows is actually a side wall, facing a parking lot. The rear wall is unfinished CMU, like you see by the enterance.

There is actually another building like that in Dayton, a new building with faux filled-in openings as a design element, but it's a flightline support shop at the local Air Force Base so I can't provide pix due to security reasons. Its a neat design, for a utilitarian building, and funny thing is no one on base realy caught that architectural in-joke, either (the architects were riffing on the idea that there are a number of older builidings on base with obviously blocked up window and door openings openings)
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