July 30, 2021 A Supernormal Transformation: Designing Comfort Kitchen with Nathan Fash, AIA
The Upham’s Corner Comfort Station (1912) , soon to be Comfort Kitchen, is slated to open this year! With construction commencing soon, the space, which was a former rest station for commuters, will be transformed into a cafe by day and a restaurant by night.The Comfort Kitchen team, Nyacko Pearl Perry, Biplaw Rai, and Kwasi Kwaa, are moulding the space to fit their vision of a community space that celebrates global comfort food. The team has been working with Nathan Fash AIA, and Elizabeth Christoforetti, the Principles of Supernormal, an architecture, urban strategy, and research firm based in Cambridge. Read below for a quick update and some insight about the building’s design from Nate.
What first attracted you to the project?
Nate: From the beginning, the Comfort Kitchen concept has always been built around intimacy and using food as a vehicle for community building. We have seen many iterations of the design, and now given COVID era precautions, the outdoor spaces have really come into their own to serve a larger purpose. We are looking at those spaces to host art, events, and to showcase the cultural roots of the team. We think of these as opportunities to invite people in, like an open door to the community.
Do you often work on historic preservation projects?
Nate: One of the great things about the project is its unique history and a strong public presence. The idea that we get to reuse existing fabric, which is sustainable, is really exciting because we get to transform an urban place, breathing new life into existing part of the city. These values are nicely aligned with what we believe at Supernormal, and this is a chance for us to put design to use for the community and the city at large.
What aspect of the design are you most excited to see finished?
Nate: My favorite space is a semi-circular niche that fits about 6 people. It’s a special pocket with unique views into the rest of the dining space and into the kitchen, which walks the line between intimate and separate. I think it is going to be a really popular spot. One exciting facet of the project has been weaving in the social component to activate the space.
How has the Comfort Kitchen team influenced your idea of the building’s design?
Nate: Nyacko has a real knack for community focus from an events perspective and what will bring people to the place as an experience. Biplaw and Kwasi are approaching the project from the kitchen; they are at the heart of the dining component. As a pair they have dreamed up a global perspective from their respective heritage to cooking and ideas of what a food-centered gathering space would look like.
See other articles on the Comfort Station and Comfort Kitchen: