Wednesday, July 28, 2010

SWBR Architects was selected as the architect for dining and food service renovations to Wilson Commons and “The Pit” on the University of Rochester’s River Campus.  The Pit doubled in size and become home to two new food stations, Zoca and Panda Express and a 6,000-pound pizza oven. The 58,000 SF facility was originally designed by world renowned I. M. Pei in 1976, and has architectural significance to the college and community.  

Director of Campus Dining Services and Auxiliary Operations, Cam Schauf, said at a dining presentation that “the changes [to Wilson Commons] address results from student surveys, requests for more ethnic choices, more vegetarian and healthy options and faster service”.

The renovations increase food service stations to accommodate the increasing number of students attending the University as the facility is one of the most frequented dining locations on the River Campus. In conjunction with the expansion of the service area, mechanical systems, including the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units, will be upgraded.

The adjoining dining area features a six-story atrium, open ceiling to stairways and balconies, and provides students, faculty and staff with a welcoming dining experience. Sustainable design principles were incorporated into the design as part of the design.

David Beinetti, AIA, LEED AP, reflected on both the building and project “this building is a classic Pei building which required our sensitivity in handling the critical iconic elements to preserve his original idea.  At the same time, today’s university student expects the fresh food and menu variety and that demanded an extensive series of changes to make that happen”.