Cotton & Rye

The Cotton & Rye project transformed a mid-century bank building that had housed two previous restaurants, but had never undergone a full renovation. The new owners sought to create an immersive experience for their first signature restaurant, putting as much consideration into the building’s design as they did into the restaurant’s now-celebrated menu.

Despite the building’s past restaurant use, the inadequate kitchen facilities, and the general disrepair of the space, limited growth potential and posed a significant spatial challenge. A new kitchen addition nearly doubled the restaurant’s overall footprint while an exterior, covered raised deck (the former drive-through banking lane) extends the intimacy of the interior and shields patrons from traffic and weather. Inside, the main dining space is centered around a large bar, with perimeter banquette seating and a vault room for private dinners and events.

Our renovation celebrated the building’s mid-century qualities — horizontal proportions, zig-zag window wall, and exposed brick — but updated these elements by introducing an industrial aesthetic: new storefront windows, a polished concrete floor, and an exposed roof structure and ductwork. Fresh white paint on the interior and exterior brick brightened the space and lightened its presence on the street, while the wood-slatted screen wall surrounding the raised deck drew inspiration both from Southern shutters and mid-century details. The modern, retro signage at the crown of the building serves as an aesthetic anchor and marks Cotton & Rye as a true culinary destination for locals and visitors alike.

Savannah, Georgia
Gross Area:
AIA Merit Award, 2017