This gut renovation of an existing Spanish Colonial–style structure in a resort town of Baja California reinterprets traditional forms and materials for Toro Gastrobar. An original arched brick corridor forms the main entrance to the 8,000-square-foot Latin American restaurant, and leads to a sunny central courtyard and bar where light filters through a twig pergola. (A retractable sunscreen shades the courtyard and protects it in the rare event of rain in this arid region.)
Suspended from the Cor-Ten beams crisscrossing the ceiling, and lining the walls of this central area, are floating shelves holding large locally crafted ceramic pots, which echo the organic patterns and colors found in the stone mosaic floor. “I tried to use new construction to bring back in some of the Mexican vernacular,” says São Paulo– and New York–based Casas, who sourced decorative elements, textiles, and construction materials from local suppliers.
Through broad doorways, the courtyard connects to two conjoined dining rooms—where chairs are upholstered with fabric from Guadalajara—and a spacious porch, where diners can gather, shaded from the sun by a sturdy wooden awning. The firm’s most striking addition is a cantilevered patio just off the main dining room, looking out past tall cactus and native plants to the Pacific Ocean.