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Sense of Place

The Culinary Institute of America: Anton Plaza

University Business, Feb 2006

With a fountain, cupolas, and other aesthetic features, a 32,500-square-foot plaza serves as a campus centerpiece while alleviating a parking crunch for this Hyde Park, N.Y., college.

FUNCTION: Located in front of Roth Hall, Anton Plaza is an everyday gathering place that also can be used for outdoor banquets.

PROBLEM: The CIA's 170-acre campus along the Hudson River has been called majestic--but lingering outside its main building for some fresh air traditionally meant navigating distractions such as tour buses and tractor trailers. After all, The CIA is not just a school; its campus includes five public restaurants--and the service road for deliveries to the college's 41 kitchens and bakeshops ran directly in front of Roth. This not only disrupted guests, students, and employees, but also distracted "from the image of hospitality the college intends to portray," says spokesperson Jeff Levine. A lack of parking for the 2,700-student school and its many visitors didn't help matters.

SOLUTIONS: Architects' idea to build the two-story garage into a hillside extended The CIA's front lawn. "It's now four times larger than previously, with traffic rerouted to the back," says Charlie O'Mara, senior vice president for Finance and Administration. This created a campus quad ideal for outdoor events. And the 145 additional parking spaces, designated for visitors, don't hurt.

PROJECT COST: $10.9 million ($4.6 million was donated by Anton Airfood founders William and Patricia Anton). The project was one part of a $60 million capital expansion.

COMPLETED: September 2005

PROJECT TEAM: Chambersburg, Pa.-based Noelker and Hull Associates (architect); Lititz, Pa.-based Derck and Edson Associates (landscape architect) --M.E.