Friday 14 Jun 2013


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The Smith Robinson Building in downtown Kingston, Ontario comprises a large stone structure with a subsequent concrete addition, built in the 1950s for the S&R department store. This Milestones location was tasked with maintaining the building’s integrity and historic connection to the community while still creating a modern, stylish and comfortable dining atmosphere.

Stripping the interiors back to their archaeological essence exposed the original stonework from 1841 as well as the existing concrete columns and arched structures of the addition. Inside the original structure, the bar and its centuries-old stone works to create symmetry with the building’s façade on bustling Princess Street. Loose bar seating along the street-side windows draw pedestrians into the restaurant and the partially-covered patio invigorates the streetscape.

Portions of the elevated dining area, set in the more recent addition, overlook the bar and out to the sidewalk.

Embracing the confines of the space, our designers reimagined the Milestones brand’s individual table cabanas as a single cabana room within each structural bay, allowing the space to adapt to individual diners or large parties. The existing concrete columns and arched structures define the seating areas, where bold colours and fabrics play off of the millwork’s polished surfaces as well as the muted stone and concrete finishes.

The bar is visually open to the street to optimize day light, while the more intimate dining area offers lower light levels deeper within the floor area. The lighting strategy emphasizes the textures throughout the space while providing intimacy on an individual level.

In lieu of adding typical wall and ceiling finishes, the design maximizes the existing built form and limits new materials to a minimum. This allowed the design team to create a spatial environment that can be easily repurposed in the future. Old timbers, previously used as framing for the penthouse, were reclaimed and subsequently used for tables and the private dining room wall panelling. The Milestones in Kingston has been a great success because it embraces local history in a direct and fresh manner. The honesty of the design enriches a tradition of adaptive reuse, ensuring that both Milestones and the Smith Robinson Building will remain important landmarks in Kingston’s downtown core.

Stantec Architecture Ltd.

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