The Meteor

MAGIC architecture was approached to re-imagine a former liquor store and convert it into The Meteor, an all-day cafe and custom bicycle shop in Austin.

  • area / size 2,250 sqft
  • Year 2019
  • Location Austin, Texas, United States,
  • The building was a 1920’s concrete building, completely hidden from years of ill-covered signage and awnings. Looking to capitalize upon the re-revitalization of Congress Avenue, the first move of architecture was to give the address something iconic.

    Working within an existing window opening, we designed a “krinkle storefront”. Like potato chips or a wrinkled shirt, the windows work to reflect light to drivers and street. As if to say, there are “good days + bad ones”…the windows reflect the sky accordingly. As a cycylist, there are good days and bad ones. One can blame the weather or tool, but the windows remind one there’s an upward and downward view of the sky.

    Applied materials were removed and original materials were cleaned to restore their original state.

    Encaustic patterned tile, purposefully placed skylights and signage provide a surprisingly playful and casual experience. A built reflection of the South Congress neighborhood.

    The original steel trusses and pine roof was sandblasted to expose the original materials. The pink terrazzo floor was restored, including the 1920’s in-floor safe.

    The brief was to renovate a liquor store into a casual all-day cafe and bicycle shop. The City of Austin wouldn’t allow us to make the space larger, so we had to work within the existing 90-year-old footprint to make something exciting. Renovating the storefront for visual intrigue, adding an overhang to keep sun + water away from customers and using a local contractor who hand-made much of the elements himself.

    I met the owners by pure coincidence. Doug Zell co-founded Intelligentsia Coffee in Chicago in the 1990’s. He and his business partner, Chris St. Peter had started a new company called, “The Meteor,” and wanted to establish a new space in Austin. Having grown up in Chicago, I knew Intelligentsia and was also an avid bicyclist. So it was a great match of fate.

    Design: MAGIC architecture
    Photography: Leonid Furmansky