St. John's University, School of Law Cafeteria

Queens, New York

  • FIRM

    Perkins and Will


    St. John's University

  • AREA

    7,500 sq.ft.



For students, faculty, and staff at the School of Law at St. John's University, the existing cafeteria was far from a relaxing environment. During peak hours, long lines of students would extend along cramped corridors into high traffic areas. Adding to the discord was the lack of direct connection between the servery and the kitchen.

In the newly ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONFEATURED IN2014 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYCafeterias/Food-Service Areas 7,500 square foot space, a vastly improved layout ensures that food preparation, storage, cooking, and dishwashing areas are connected and separate from public circulation. In addition, the servery can now be easily secured during non-dining events without compromising the overall sense of openness.

In addition to creating an airy, light-filled area to dine and gather, the design team was committed to promoting the sophisticated yet economical spirit of the School of Law. Clean geometries and light colors fill the space, which is punctuated by vibrant chairs, occasional shifts in wall depth, and other details. As an example, points-of-sale (POS ) feature a unique ceiling panel design that subtly differentiates these areas, as well as distinctive millwork pieces that seamlessly integrate shelving and snack display.

Other unique challenges included supporting the cafeteria’s new option to order food through highly visible digital displays; incorporating built-in receptacles for trash and recycling as well as for condiments; integrating a Brewed by Starbucks café that respected the company’s brand while also reflecting the cafeteria’s design; creating a sprinkler fire curtain along the cooking area; working within a limited budget; and disrupting the daily operations of the School of Law as little as possible.

“Everyone at the School of Law is thrilled with the new cafeteria,” says Project Director of Design and Construction Jacque Theus. “The new layout is much more intuitive, allowing for more efficient operations, and the space feels much brighter and friendlier.”