Future Chefs Cook In A State-Of-The-Art Building

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When Johnson & Wales University undertook to build a new culinary facility to replace its outmoded student kitchens and labs, the school’s president had one request. “He wanted a ‘wow’ building,’’ recalls Nicholas Koulbanis, of the architecture firm Tsoi/Kobus & Associates, of Cambridge.

And that is what Johnson & Wales got. The new 82,000-square-foot Cuisinart Center for Culinary Excellence is state-of-the-art, with, among other things, 30 teaching labs and classrooms, seven pastry and chocolate labs, three dining rooms, two bake shops, and a microbrewery lab. The levels are themed and color-coded, light floods in through huge windows, and graphics feature oversize words such as “culinary,’’ “create,’’ and “leaders’’ visible from outside the building. Level two, for instance, has as its theme “The Art of Cuisine and Wellness,’’ with marine blues and lime greens; one floor up, the theme is “International Baking and Pastry,’’ reflected in shades of gold and wheat. The themes even carry through to the tiles in the restrooms on each level.

The LEED-certified building was designed with energy efficiency and sustainability in mind, and all this in a structure that required a 12-foot elevation because it sits on a flood plain.

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