The original dining hall was one of two designed in 1968 to support high-rise towers with 3,200 students. The dining hall had remained virtually unchanged for 30 years. The university’s goal for the project was to create a dining environment that the students would relate to, while solving the noise problems created by the tray dropoff line and hard surfaces within ASSOCIATED FIRMRoss & Baruzzini EngineersCOST PER SQ FT$33.88FEATURED IN2002 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYCafeterias/Food-Service Areas space.
The design placed a visual screen between the service area and the dining area. This created entry portals, which provide drama and a sense of destination for the students. Many of the design elements are slightly overscaled to create an illusion that the space is smaller and more intimate. Yellow translucent plastic panels were removed to expose a skylight.
Design elements around the perimeter of the room, such as the inclusion of the steel brackets and canopy on the end walls, created a metro or urban cafe environment that the students could relate to, while keeping the middle open for flexible seating arrangements. Once this urban theme evolved, it was decided the color palette should be a sophisticated rendition of six basic colors.