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“Hampshire Dining Commons is one of two commons (the other is Berkshire Dining Commons) serving the Staff prepare Asian dishes at the Street Food station. Food at all stations is similar to southwest residential area,” what you’d find at natural foods stores: free-range eggs, homemade breads, sustainable says Toong. “In 2011 when we fish, some produce from nearby farms, some from five “permaculture” gardens funded received confirmation that by Toong’s office (these earned recognition by the White House in 2012). UMass would break ground on the new Commonwealth Honors College Residential Complex, we started planning the Hampshire renovation to accommodate 1,500 additional beds. We used the opportunity not only to give the facility a facelift but also to rethink how to make a dining commons better in every way.” During the nine-month construction period, Hampshire was closed.

BUI L DI N G AND DES IGN CH A LLE N GE S

The dining and design team faced several challenges. “Due to budget constraints the existing concrete building featured a central service elevator and back-of-house staircase that could not be moved,” says the project’s foodservice design consultant Lenny Condenzio, partner in charge with Ricca Newmark Design. “Exterior glass walls looking out on the campus surroundings left little option for the typical foodservice layout, which would inevitably block the view. The team did not want to distribute platforms throughout the footprint. The traditional ‘corralled’ dining environment, in which customers enter a confined control space, would appear too crowded, block visibility, and restrict access to the numerous platforms as diners emerged from the public stairs and elevators at the face of this building.” “These challenges gave us an opportunity to develop a unique, fresh design concept,” says Toong. Embracing the infrastructure of the building as it existed, the team started with the core service transition—elevator and stairs—debating how to place all 12 platforms back to back while accommodating the central core. First, they inverted the traditional “corral” layout, which has been a popular layout used for the past 30 years. Turning the corral inside out, they located the platforms on the outside of the skeleton rather than the inside. Condenzio’s early sketch from a prior master plan study offered a slightly erratic version of the idea, with angular “spokes” protruding from a unified central core. “That was still sort of the old thinking,” says Condenzio. “It was creating distinct separate zones for each one of the concepts, whether for Asian or pasta or deli.” Condenzio recalls that Toong asked, “Why can’t we make this cleaner?” and drew a circle like a big round donut on the sketch. As the design developed, the circle became an oval. “I don’t think anybody else would have been brave enough to say ‘do that,’” says Condenzio.

D E S I G N B Y

19 C A M P U S D I N I N G TO DAY

generation campus dining,” says Toong. The renovated facility, which is in the final approval stages of earning a LEED-Silver certification, features a contemporary New England theme with 13 flexible concepts contained in a first-of-its kind oval design in the U.S. that ensures more efficient traffic flow. Staff members perform just-in-time cooking in the 20,000-squarefoot, open, main level kitchen, making dishes every 30 minutes with more than 70 percent customizable to students’ desires.


Campus Dining Today: Spring/Summer 2014 | A Sense of Place: Creating Community on Campus