January 3, 2011

Livingston Dining Commons to House Multitude of Dining Options for Students and Faculty

The award-winning New Jersey-based architectural firm, The Biber Partnership, has begun construction on a new multi-floor dining facility located in Rutger University’s Livingston Campus. The 62,000 sq. ft. Dining Commons is slated for completion July 2011. The dining facility connects to the new Livingston Student Center, which The Biber Partnership also designed, via a sky bridge that will span the main pedestrian axis through Campus. Connecting the two buildings will allow for a multitude of study, gathering and dining options. Seminars, meetings and conferences will be held at the Student Center with additional breakout space on the second floor of the Dining Commons, or meeting participants can choose to cross over to the Dining Commons for breaks or meals.

The design will provide a view from the Faculty Club/restaurant out to the lovely campus nature preserve located across the road. Taking into consideration the preserve, a storm water management system for the student center and the dining commons will be integrated and is intended to be an extension of the preserve as opposed to a large, concrete retention basin.

Overall exterior elements of the dining facility include Arriscraft Calcium Silicate panels, a limestone base, metal standing seamed roofs and red metal-canopied entrances, share the same materials as the student center to purposely create an overall synergy and look between the two new buildings. Landscaping will feature hardscape areas in the form of seating and gathering spaces in pockets around the exterior. Together, combined with the nearby library, the connected buildings will be the hub of the entire campus.

The student dining facilities will be located on the first floor and feature a central servery with three separate dining rooms. One of the dining rooms will be designed as a casual pub-like gathering space and boast televisions suspended from the ceiling, lounge furniture, booths and a fireplace to replicate a comfortable sports-bar environment. The pub will also have a serving station dedicated solely to casual fare including burgers and fries as well as its own root beer tap. An additional interior feature of the pub includes rolling gates to enable it to stay open for extended hours while other areas of the dining facility can close. Highlights of the second dining room will be a balcony overlooking the room in its entirety as well as extremely high ceilings. The third dining space, located at the south end of the building, features a dramatic, yet laid-back sunken dining area due to the natural sloping topography and architecture of the original site.

Positively reacting to student demand, a take-out shop that is accessed by students from outside the building, as opposed to through the main entrance, similar to other dining halls, was created to allow for longer hours of operation for the facility and its patrons.

The second floor Faculty Club will focus on faculty by providing a unique atmosphere with private dining and meeting rooms. The second floor also features 3 private dining rooms with wall partitions to provide flexibility as well as a prefunction area, which overlooks student-dining area. The dining room space will be available for private University functions and events. In addition to the dining room, the faculty will enjoy a lounge, outdoor terrace and most importantly a separate entrance and lobby set apart from the student serveries typical of other campus dining facilities. To service these separate dining options, the second floor will have a wait-staff facility and private kitchen.

“We are thrilled to have such a rewarding, long-standing relationship with Rutgers University and this particular project is no exception to that,” said Peter Biber, AIA, The Biber Partnership. “By creating an extension of our existing Livingston project in the form of the dining center, we were able to expedite the assignment in a timely fashion and stay within budget.”

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