Seattle’s Little Water Cantina Expects LEED Platinum
by Meghan Edwards | Wednesday, July 6, 2011 | 5 Comments
We hear it’s not always sunny in Seattle, so it’s fitting that Shed Architecture & Design infused their largest restaurant project to date, the city’s 3,000-square-foot Little Water Cantina, with a cozy Pacific Northwest materials palette spiced up with Mexican heat. Also appropriate is the LEED Platinum rating expected by the restaurant and general contractor Dolan Construction, who both helped translate Shed’s substantial green residential portfolio into drool-worthy salvaged materials and energy-efficient lighting and appliances.
Calling them a “labor of love,” Shed principal Prentis Hale worked with contractor Tim Dolan to line Little Water Cantina’s entry with 800 recycled tequila bottles backlit with LEDs, each one collected individually from local bar dumpsters on Sunday mornings by husband-and-wife owners Shannon and Laura Wilkinson, who conceptualized the wall. The Wilkinsons also spent years stockpiling the vintage gramophones that now hang as pendant fixtures above the reclaimed live-edge madrone bar top. The wall of blackened-tin tiles behind the tap count among the bar’s scant new purchases.
“We wanted to use rustic and high-end materials commonplace to both Mexico and the Northwest to evoke connection and similarities,” says Hale. Referencing both locations, utilitarian concrete blocks form walls that anchor the lounge, bar, main dining, and deck—which overlooks Lake Union—and allow for natural light screening in key spaces. Hale suspended reclaimed fir planks to achieve the slat ceiling and polished up the floor’s existing concrete slabs. LEED-certified vinyl upholsters the booths, while bathroom stalls are constructed of fir and pine salvaged from a grain silo outside Portland, Oregon, and a local woodworker made the tabletops from reclaimed fir.
GreenBlueprint’s Jerry Jaz consulted on Energy Star-rated appliances (the furnace, water heater, and even the fireplace are over 90 percent efficient) to cut water use by 70 percent and eliminated nearly half the energy use. And the LEDs used throughout the entire restaurant result in Little Water Cantina using just 26 percent of the city’s allowable wattage. Perched on galvanized steel chairs and stools by Xavier Pauchard, that means diners can enjoy the menu’s shrimp mojo de ajo, smoked-wild-boar torta, and vanilla-cider pork tostadas guilt free, right?
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