New York University wanted an attractive dining facility for the rapidly growing, sophisticated resident undergraduate student body. It was to be located in a courtyard between two university buildings, with separate kosher and non-kosher dining areas.
The goal was to deliver a high level of service, amenities, food presentation and overall aesthetics in an FEATURED IN2000 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSpecialized more typical of upscale neighborhood cafes and restaurants.
Also, it wanted the dining facility visible from the main street to create an exceptionally inviting public space for students to meet and socialize.
The architect’s response was to create a variety of spaces—from the open, bright, large main room to a series of more intimate areas for four to eight students—linked by light and sightlines, but distinguished by color, partitions and patterns in the terrazzo flooring. There are separate entrances to kosher and non-kosher areas.
The facility uses Marché-style dining, bringing food preparation into the dining area, in keeping with students’ expectations for an upscale experience. This creates a greater sense of spaciousness and volume. It makes light the defining design element by introducing north-facing skylights, lightwells and concealed light coves that wash walls and ceilings.
A high-end, high-design coffee bar, near the main entrance and visible from the street, welcomes students into the facility.
Photographer: ©H. Durston Saylor