Arugula Restaurant – reality v. visualization


this is a photo of the recently completed Arugula Restaurant design in Boulder, Colorado


this is an image from a SketchUp model of the project that we were using as one of the basic design tools of the process.

Obviously there is a richness of light and shadow and materials in the photograph that does not exist in the model without a lot of work.  However, the ability to ‘test-drive’ the design by things other than 2-dimensional drawings have given us as architects and designers an unprecedented level of control of the design process.  While the ability to create sketches and hand-drawn perspectives was always with us, their use was so time-consuming that we certainly did not visualize the project in that way from as many vantage points as we can with the computer model.  As an architect who still relies significantly on sketching and having been educated in a pre-computer visualization era, the views from the computer model usually just confirm what I envisage for the project in my head and record in 2-dimensional drawings.  However, the ability to show the computer the model to clients, to more fully involve them in my process, has lead to a much more collaborative design practice.  No longer are projects when constructed a sudden realization of an imagined reality, spawned from the head and hand of the architect, but rather the computer model mimics the final construction so well, the outcome is more eagerly anticipated by clients.  They have ‘seen’ it already and must simply wait for the contractor to complete it.  This is much more like the process of the architect than clients have ever really had in the past.


Arugula Restaurant


Arugula Restaurant opened last weekend.  Designed by M. Gerwing Architects with the help of:

ABL Construction (Alan Lawrence, Herb Ruprecht, Randy Zahn)

McGinty (Graphics, Design)

Laak Woodworks (cabinetry)

Boulder Engineering (HVAC design)

and of course, owner and chef Alec Schuler

Arugula is a fine dining Italian restaurant located at 2785 Iris in the old Laudisio’s location.  Using locally-sourced ingredients, Alec creates contemporary interpretations of classic Italian dishes.  It is simple, natural dining in a warm, inviting surrounding fusing modern and traditional, timeless and seasonal.

Arugula Restaurant, Boulder, interior design, in process


Construction is running full-speed at Arugula Restaurant, a small renovation project we designed in north Boulder.  Located in the former Mista/Laudisio’s space, the 70-seat restaurant features Northern Italian fare with an emphasis on lighter and healthier cooking.  


The project includes the complete deconstruction of the original space including all plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems.  The new design is a synthesis of old and new designs motifs and elements, much like the direction of the restaurant itself is a combination of old recipes and new techniques.

Chef/Owner: Alec Schuler

Architect:  M. Gerwing Architects

Graphics & Design: McGinty

Contractor: ABL Construction (Alan Lawrence, Herb Ruprecht, Randy Zahn)

Engineering: Boulder Engineering

Boulder restaurant, design and interiors

Construction will soon begin on a new restaurant fit-out project in Boulder.  The design attempts to blend and contrast new and old, traditional and modern, much as the restaurant’s food will feature old world techniques with new world ingredients, fresh approaches to traditional recipes.