IMG_3450eMay 8th marked the end of this year’s ACE Mentor Program of the Greater Bridgeport Chapter. Nineteen ACE students gathered together for their final presentations at the Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport.

Throughout the school year, two teams developed and designed a restaurant from the existing CityTrust building located in the Downtown Bridgeport South Historic District. Two completely different concepts were formed utilizing the 10,000 sq. ft. space; one team captured New England diners through seafood, while the other had an “around the world” burger theme.

Three judges, who were seen as ‘investors,’ scored the two projects on a 100 point scale based on their presentation, overall concept, plans/elevations, and marketability. As an Architectural Designer at Antinozzi Associates, I was chosen to be one of the judges.

Both designs put forth concepts centered around themed restaurants. The Gull’s Perch had a strong material palette to reinforce the ocean-side ambience, and when coupled with the unique buoy lighting, created an authentic environment. The small details were the strength of this design; they tied together the restaurant and helped cater to the locals/families with their underwater dining experience.

In contrast, Prime 10 Boeuf was more of a ‘destination restaurant.’ The concept was brought into reality by the various dining arrangements which utilized different seating types, wall graphics, and materials. Each seating area was representative of a different country and each of the ten countries listed on its menu had its own unique burger.

The students were able to experience the life of a design professional. Having been on the other end of a critique myself many times in architecture school and more recently in design competition entries, I understand how difficult it is to take an idea and present it. As a designer, both at Antinozzi and in my personal endeavors, I have garnered an appreciation for just how difficult it is to do what both groups did so well, and I can clearly see all the hard work that went into each design.

Although the investors decided to build Prime 10 Boeuf, all of the students had a successful year and it was evident in their presentations. We are excited about what is to come next academic year!

By Nate Dalesio
Architectural Designer