Robert Morris College, School of Culinary Arts

Chicago, Illinois

In mid-2003, Robert Morris College expanded its educational offerings to include the fast-growing area of culinary arts. This program became so popular that an additional culinary-arts facility was planned for the fall of 2004.

The challenge in this project was to create a high-tech teaching environment while responding to the functional requirements of ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONASSOCIATED FIRMLegat Architects; S. Stein & Company; W.E. O`NeilCOST PER SQ FT$337.20CITATIONCollegiate CitationFEATURED IN2005 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYInterior RenovationSUB CATEGORYRenovation multi-student kitchen and to maintain efficiencies in construction wherever possible. All of this had to be accomplished in an existing, vacated tenant space within the Leiter II Building, a national historic landmark on Chicago’s famous State Street.

The design result has created a clean, modern facility that incorporates unique student cooking stations with optimized sightlines for teachers and students, the highest-quality cooking equipment and the latest computer technology. The space allows students to experience three modalities of learning: visual, auditory and kinetic. Each student pair has its own working production station, equipped with a sink, oven, range and computer monitor to view the instructor as he or she walks students through professional food creation.

Expansive wash and prep areas allow for quick and efficient cleanup and preparation of teaching kitchens, so students can spend less time washing and more time in the teaching environment.

In addition to the instructional aspect of the project, the design also needed to succeed in marketing the culinary program. This was achieved through the introduction of glass walls in the teaching kitchens and dining room around the centrally situated break area.

The result is a central viewing location that simultaneously allows visual access into all spaces within the culinary school.

"A sleek, functional adaptation."--2005 jury