Torchy's Tacos by Chioco Design references 1950s roadside architecture

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A new taco restaurant in Austin, Texas, by Chioco Design references mid-century American roadside buildings and signage with bright red columns and a distinctive roofline (+ slideshow).

Torchy's Taco Shop by Chioco

Built on the site of a 1970s burger chain called Fran's Hamburgers, the new 269-square-metre branch of Torchy's Tacos features a zigzag profile supported by red-painted structural columns that cross over each other to create X and Y shapes.

Torchy's Taco Shop by Chioco

The form of the building was designed to be eye-catching to drivers, with a standing-seam metal roof that folds over one side.



The metal columns provide enough support to extend the roofline out from the building, creating a large outdoor seating area in front of South Congress Avenue, one of the Austin's most prominent commercial thoroughfares.

Torchy's Taco Shop by Chioco

"Consciously referencing the archetypal 1950's-era drive-in diners, Chioco Design developed an iconographic structural X and Y form traversing the length of the block facing South Congress Aveune," the architects said.

Torchy's Taco Shop by Chioco

"Chioco Design set out to create a building able to respect its iconic setting, allude to its historic roots and fulfil the needs of a modern restaurant," the architects said.

Torchy's Taco Shop by Chioco

Custom steel planters and tree wells in the sidewalk feature built-in benches, and are designed to further encourage outdoor dining.

Torchy's Taco Shop by Chioco

The west exterior wall is covered in red reflectors – small plastic discs designed to reflect light from the headlamps of passing vehicles that are used on guard rails along the sides of roads in the US.

Torchy's Taco Shop by Chioco

North-facing skylights bring natural illumination into the building without the harsh heat gain that south-facing windows would allow.

Torchy's Taco Shop by Chioco

The red structural supports are left exposed inside. Yellow metal pendent lights, geometrically patterned tiles on the counter and a section of the floor, and a red accent wall decorate the otherwise white and grey interior. The rest of the floor is made from polished concrete.

Torchy's Taco Shop by Chioco

Chioco Design has previously worked on a number of other locations for the chain, all of which have been interior renovations. This is their first ground-up building for Torchy's.

Torchy's Taco Shop by Chioco

Based in Austin, Chioco Design has an extensive portfolio of restaurant and residential projects.

Torchy's Taco Shop by Chioco

While world-renowned architects like Kengo Kuma and Steven Holl are working in Dallas and Houston, Austin's architectural scene tends to be more local and low-key, including these modern houses by Alterstudio and Aamodt Plumb.

Torchy's Taco Shop by Chioco
Floor plan – click for larger image
Torchy's Taco Shop by Chioco
Section – click for larger image
Torchy's Taco Shop by Chioco
Section detail – click for larger image
  • Archi-Nerd

    Neat.

  • Kay

    Yes, yes and YES!!! So awesome.