Hillside Dining Hall Remodel
California State University, Long Beach
Hillside Dining Hall is a 12,600 sf tenant improvement project for an existing dining hall at Cal State University, Long Beach. Work included a complete renovation of the dining interior and kitchen facility as well as a new exterior covered patio and open garden.
The vision for the Hillside Dining project was to create a social core—a ’home away from home’ for resident students. The challenging part programmatically was that the new venue needed to accommodate more students at peak time than the existing facility. The kitchen had to grow in size while the envelope of the existing building remained the same.
This approach created ‘neighborhoods’ within the larger dining hall. Each zone has a specific ‘flavor’ in terms of food offerings and material finishes. The variety of seating options allow students to find their favorite space and make it their own, regardless of the size of the group.
AC Martin’s design strategy was twofold: to create an outdoor dining patio with heaters, trees, comfortable banquette seating and covered with operable louvers that can be weather-tight for rainy days. This allowed doubling the seating capacity. The second component of the design strategy was directly tied to the vision of the venue, creata layout with exhibition food platforms that project into the dining space therefore spatially interlocking functional space with lounge space. Bringing the kitchen out into the dining space as an ‘activator’ was a strategy to enliven the typical institutional dining hall experience and enhance the interface between the cooks and the students.
Each dining area is designed with generous high-back upholstered seating. Along the large storefront windows, a perforated screen is built-into the booth seating to allow outdoor views but to give more privacy and shade on the south side. Although the idea of built-in seating seems counterintuitive for a flexible dining space, the generously sized booths do allow for large groups to gather and still feel private. Additionally, a flexible dining space was incorporated that can be closed off with a large glass overhead door for private events. When left open, this space is contiguous to the dining space and flows with the adjacent dining areas.
The material palette for the project is upbeat and fresh with graphic patterns bringing a playfulness and liveliness to the environment.
This project is certified LEED Gold®