Culinary Institute of America, Roth Hall Visitors Center and Cafe

Hyde Park, New York

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) wanted to renovate an existing building to accommodate two new programs: a visitors center that would house daily visitors and a facility for teaching all aspects of retail coffee/pastry-shop management.

The CIA welcomes a significant number of visitors on a daily basis to tour the school and enjoy the fine dining that the ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$243.00CITATIONRenovation/Modernization CitationFEATURED IN2002 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation create. Adding a cafe as a meeting place for visitors provided a customer base for the students in the retail program.

The proposed location for the cafe and support teaching kitchens proved to be technically challenging. The dark, uninviting building had been a Jesuit seminary and needed significant changes. The kitchen area was too small, and the seating/dining area was bisected by load-bearing 20-inch-thick masonry walls and separated from the corridor by the same. In addition, the hallways that visitors traveled through needed to be opened up and illuminated.

The solution required opening the existing masonry walls. A series of 12-foot-wide openings were created in the interior, and bisecting walls create a more appealing meeting area for visitors. Light from the courtyard now enters the corridor, providing a more attractive walkway. Creating a shop front to display fresh-baked goods near the entry creates an invitation to purchase goods. The kitchens also are open along the corridors to allow visitors to see food being prepared.