El Arbol Restaurant

Although the old Gorbit Sprinkler building had been built in the 1960’s, it was the 150 year old oak tree on the site that became the namesake for El Arbol, an Argentinean restaurant and parrilla. As plans to preserve the neglected building began to take shape it was agreed that the dining experience had to be as important as the cuisine. Decisions to preserve existing features or include custom crafted elements would lead to patrons experiencing another time and lifestyle, mid-century Argentina.

The existing vintage green enamel bricks that adorn the exterior of the building were preserved, while a set of double doors that were originally the doors to an apartment in Argentina were imported to create a stunning entrance. A custom designed open brick fence and carved teak Indian garden door enclose the rear of the restaurant and the three decks that encircle the tree.

In order to ensure that the tree that inspired the restaurant would be an integral part of a diner’s experience, the restaurant’s foundation had to accommodate root growth and an underground irrigation system. The deck’s railings were custom designed to incorporate the existing limbs, in order not to harm the iconic tree.

The meticulous design decisions continue within the restaurant. A combination of finishes including light refracting screens carved from walnut, a stringer staircase and cork covered floors and walls all come together to create a welcoming, fun and relaxing atmosphere.

Location: Austin, Texas

Architect: Aubrey Carter Design

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