Verney-Woolley Dining Hall, Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
The renovation of this student dining hall, converted it from a 1960s facility of dark walls and long rectangular tables to one in which natural light filters in from a sky roof and diners can watch the chefs prepare their food. Constructed in 1967 it was originally designed like a “dog bone,” its north and south dining rooms were connected by a serving area backed by a production kitchen. The serving area was cafeteria style with two identical lines that fed into each other.
The kitchen was reconfigured to allow the chefs to prepare food in view of the students. Designed with the color scheme of an Alsacean kitchen – a style from a historic region of France – the walls are decorated with shelves holding ceramic plates and pitchers. Serving stations are also now separated to allow students to go directly to an entrée of their choice, rather than waiting in a line to pass by all selections as under the previous design.
A big hit with the students is the deli counter seating looking out to the Zen Garden. Other facility upgrades included the installation of a sky roof, air conditioning, movable gates to segment the hall for functions, and a new sound system. After the renovated facility reopened the average number of daily diners increased by 74 percent.