Kent Denver Dining Hall / Semple Brown Design

© Ron Pollard Photography

Architects: Semple Brown Design
Location: Englewood, Colorado, USA
Project Team: Bryan Schmidt, AIA, LEED AP, Dru Schwyhart, LEED AP, Sarah Semple Brown, AIA, Tom Gallagher, Architect, LEED AP, Mary Kay Sunset, ASID, LEED AP
Project Area: 20,000 square feet (8,000 square feet existing/renovation 12,000 square feet of new construction)
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Ron Pollard Photography

The new dining hall is in a 210-acre campus that hosts a mix of environments including sports fields, native grasslands, lakes, wetlands and a variety of wildlife. The original 8,000 square foot structure was built in 1968 and with subsequent enrollment increases it had become inadequate for the required 750 meals per day the school serves. The new facility had to address this hindrance as well as reveal the cycle of food culture – catalyst for a more holistic dining and food education experience.

© Ron Pollard Photography

The completed building, the first of its kind to receive Certification includes an extensive renovation to the existing building and a 12,000 square foot addition. The new structure’s basic location was determined by the existing vehicular and pedestrian paths as well as the existing dining hall’s location. The design team took advantage of the sites slope and designed the project’s west facade with undulating windows and large sliding glass doors that open onto an exterior seating plaza and provide expansive views towards the mountains. The dining hall overlooks the entire campus, its natural setting and the surrounding neighborhood. The angled roof provides the building with a contemporary balance that is truly fitting of the campus.

Elevation South

The immediate building’s landscape is primarily comprised of native species that vary from flowering near the building to grasses near the existing landscape. An orchard with a variety of fruit trees spans the range of native seed mixes. Two bee hives in the orchard facilitate cross-pollination. This will provide a supply of locally grown fruit which will be incorporated into meals served over the course of the school year. A meandering path leads to outdoor classroom areas where instructors will teach students about the connections between the building’s systems and the natural environment, directly integrating the new facility into the curriculum. Similarly, a 16 square foot, interior ‘green’ wall is a featured aspect of the design with over 576 plants including herbs that will also be freshly harvested and utilized in cooking on a day to day basis.

The school also required that the new dining hall have the flexibility to accommodate multiple, simultaneous extracurricular functions. The private school allows for the public use of the dining hall, continuing an open campus tradition that coincides with the accessibility to local recreational trails directly adjacent to the dining hall parking lot. The main hall’s interior’s ‘wedge’ configuration is typically utilized as one contiguous space, and the different roof slopes further delineate the three individual spaces that may be used separately. An operable partition subdivides the dining area, with its bamboo floors, and allows a range of events, from 75 to 250 people, to occur simultaneously. The ceiling of the dining hall is lined with narrow maple slats that provide acoustical control as well as a visual impact.

© Ron Pollard Photography

Initial cost, durability, and ease of maintenance were all primary factors in determining materials for the building envelope, without compromising sustainability. A durable, High-Albedo membrane roof is cost effective and stays cool in the summer heat. The locally manufactured brick is robust and maintenance free. Copper shingles are not only beautiful, but also contain seventy-percent recycled content.

floor plan

Storm water flow is a significant driver of the site design. Rainwater is directed to three drip chains at the edge of the western roof overhang, where it flows through landscape features in the plaza. Water is then channeled through natural treatment and holding areas before making its way to the campus wetlands. The building’s reduced water consumption is achieved with waterless urinals, low-flow toilets & faucets.

© Ron Pollard Photography

Extraordinary efforts by the contractor resulted in eighty-five percent less construction waste. Operationally, after feeding 700 lunches the building generates less than one trash bag of waste per day that isn’t composted or recycled.

Over fifty-percent of total building energy savings from baseline is reached with the aid of a 27 kilowatt roof mounted solar photovoltaic array. The proliferation of natural daylight was also a priority to help to reduce the amount of power typically required to operate artificial light fixtures while at the same time providing for a much healthier visual atmosphere. The intent is not to use the artificial lighting except during overcast days.

Text provided by

Consultant Team
Structural Engineer: KL&A
Civil Engineer: V-3 Companies
MEP Engineer: M-E Engineers
Landscape Architect: Christopher Hoy Design Group
General Contractor: CMC Group, Inc.
Kitchen Equipment: Duray/J.F. Duncan Industries, Inc.
Sustainability Consultant: Enermodal Engineering, Inc.
Food Service Provider: Sodexo

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Kent Denver Dining Hall / Semple Brown Design" 11 Oct 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 Jul 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=175179>

1 comment

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This project is fantastic in so many ways. I walked through it towards the end of construction. It raises the bar for institutional architecture in Colorado. Well done Semple Brown Design!

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