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Gusto 501

Gusto 501

501 King Street East, Toronto, Ontario, Canada | View Map
Project Year
Jonathan Friedman
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct Name
Special surfacingSika
Insulated Metal PanelKingspan Group
Overhead Vertical Sliding Glass Doors, Glasspanoramah!®
ExteriorAccess Lighting
Resilient flooringAltro

Product Spec Sheet
Special surfacing
by Sika
Insulated Metal Panel
Overhead Vertical Sliding Glass Doors, Glass
Resilient flooring
by Altro

Gusto 501

PARTISANS as Architects

With Gusto 501, acclaimed restaurateur Janet Zuccarini commissioned PARTISANS to create an unprecedented infill building for a bar and restaurant experience like no other. We were inspired by the property’s slim urban form, our client’s deep Italian roots, and our ambition to create a cultural destination. Surrounded by an overpass and former factories, The Gusto 501 Terracotta Hypergarage is a nod to our client’s story as well as its unique context. Featuring one of the largest operable glass façades in the world, and framed by weathering steel, the building has become a beacon in this nascent part of east-end Toronto. 

The structure is conceived as two massive, sculpted, Terracotta and steel walls, held together by floating wooden volumes and a guillotine glass facade of monumental size. For the interior, we looked to terracotta—one of the humblest Italian building materials, and one that our client worked with in her youth when she helped her uncle lay bricks for residential projects in Italy. We asked ourselves: how could these humble blocks be deployed to sculptural and animated effect? What did this primal building material want to be? Using parametric software models, we cut conventional terracotta bricks to craft movement through the undulating walls within a multitiered dining theatre that pulses like a radiant hive. Natural light from the glass roof 50ft above creates a lively play of shadows on the textured walls, and, at night, LED lights embedded within the blocks illuminate their opened voids.  

The 280-seat restaurant consists of a series of mezzanines and cut-outs that offer a continuous, vertically unfolding array of experiences. On the ground level there is a sidewalk terrace and main dining room with its open pizza oven, woodfired grill, and take-out window. The mezzanine features a wine bar—partially veiled by dark metal mesh screens—overlooking the dining room below. On the second level is a light-flooded cocktail bar with a bridge to the “Attico”—a private chef’s tasting room with a dedicated kitchen. Above it all is a roof terrace where guests can enjoy beverages and light snacks as well as west-facing views of Toronto’s iconic CN Tower and the city’s skyline. 

With its expansive volumes, multiple sightlines, sentient terracotta topography, and heterogeneous spaces that animate different culinary programs, Gusto 501 combines art, architecture, food, and culture to elicit awe and discovery, delivering on Zuccarini’s vision of offering Torontonians and their guests a restaurant experience that explodes the status quo.

Gusto 501’s unique undulating, corbeled atrium walls with integrated lighting reimagine possibilities for deploying the everyday low-cost terracotta block. We developed a system of permutations by working closely with the terracotta block supplier who agreed to make three angled cuts at six varying depths during the extrusion process. By slightly modifying the fabrication of an affordable off-the-shelf block, we produced a customizable set of repeatable units. 

We devised a meticulous assembly plan for the placement of the block types and lights, achieving the desired undulating effect while streamlining a complex construction process. We divided the walls into a series of lighting zones, drawing a distinct plan for each and outlining all electrical conduit required. In preparation, we worked closely with the mason to prototype mock-ups to troubleshoot the details and coordinate the integration of the lights and electrical conduits prior to construction.


Material Used :
Facade cladding: Exterior Cladding 
Masonry: Sandkuhl 
Corten Metal Panels: Vixman Construction Ltd. 
Insulated Metal Panel: Kingspan, installed by Vixman Construction Ltd. 
Wood: Canara Woodworking, Inc. 
Moisture Barrier: Blueskin / Tremco Paraseal (below grade) 
Exterior Sheathing: DensGlass 
Exterior Brick Pavers: Unilock 

Bronze Entrance Door: MCM 2001 Inc. 
Overhead Vertical Sliding Glass Doors: Panoramah! / AMG 
Fire Shutter: Cookson Door 

Built-up Roofing: Henry / Bakor 

Interior lighting:  
Interior ambient lighting: LED, Wasberg, Viabizzuno, Diffusion, CSL 
Downlights: WAC Lighting, Contech Lighting,  
Tasklighting: Lithonia Lighting 
Exterior: Access Lighting 
Bulbs: Soraa 
Dimming system or other lighting controls: Crestron 
Emergency: Beghelli 

Interior furniture:  
Fixed seating: RFP Design Group, Canara Woodworking, Inc. 
Chairs: Suite 22 Contract 
Tables: Suite 22 Contract 
Upholstery: S. Harris Fabricut, Maharam 
Millwork Bars, Counter tops, Shelving & Cabinetry: Perfect Distortion 
Ground Floor Bar “Belvedere Select” – Granite (Supplied by Marble Trend) 
Cocktail Bar: “Grey Monet” – Marble (Supplied by Marble Trend) 
Attico Bar: “Patagonia” – Quartzite (Supplied by Marble Trend) 
Roof Patio Bar: “Rocky Road” - (Supplied by Marble Trend) 
Bathroom Mirror: Rejuvenation 

Structural System 
Structural Steel: Linesteel 
Terracotta Masonry Tieback: Blok-Lok 
Structural Studwork: Interior Image Contracting 
Stairs and Guardrails: Imran Steel 

Glass: Panoramah! / AMG 
Skylights: Panoramah! / AMG 
Other (Operable Glass Facade): Panoramah! / AMG 

Interior Finishes 
Cabinetwork and Custom Woodwork: Perfect Distortion 
Paints and Stains: Sherwin-Williams 
Wall Coverings: Una/Malan 
Wood Paneling: Canara Woodworking, Inc. 
Wood slats: Canara Woodworking, Inc. 
Wood Stair Treads: Canara Woodworking, Inc. 
Metal Trims: Imran Steel Inc. 
Special surfacing: Sika 
Exposed Concrete Floors: BNE Contractors Inc. 
Wall tile: Cle Tile, DDS, Olympia Tile 
Terracotta Masonry Blocks: manufactured by Sandkuhl. Masonry/installation by Hunt Heritage Ltd.  
Resilient flooring: Altro 
Rubber stair tread & cove bases: Johnsonite 
Metal panels: Vixman Construction Ltd. 

Dumbwaiter: Bramlea Elevator Inc.

Toilets: American Standard 
Lavatory: American Standard 
Faucets: American Standard, Delta Faucets 

Other unique products that contribute to sustainability: Terracotta Masonry Block - See above 
Radiant Floor: Uponor 

Specialty Equipment 
Display Wine Fridge: Village Wine Cellars 
Kitchen Equipment: Nella 
Kitchen Exhaust Hoods: Spring Air Systems Inc. 
Pizza Oven: Mugnaini 

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Project Credits
Exposed Concrete Floors
Wood, Fixed seating
Bronze Entrance Door
Corten Metal Panels
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