"The biggest project challenge was the fast-tracking of the building process," Meyers says. "In addition, finding a way to best utilize the space to everyone's satisfaction is tricky."

No one agrees more than the project's architect and interior designer, Craig Smith, AIA, principal, Loebl Schlossman & Hackl, Chicago, and the project's foodservice consultant, Ed Whitney, president of E.F. Whitney Inc., Birmingham, Mich. "The entire project, from the start of the architectural design to the opening for classes was accomplished in two years, which was extremely ambitious and aggressive for a project of this technical complexity," Smith says. "We had less than one year for programming, design and construction documents, and 15 months for construction, including laying foundations and putting in structural steel."

Managing all the suppliers' and users' needs and expectations required extensive and comprehensive communications management, Smith says. "All user groups had to be involved and knowledgeable about all aspects of the project. The result of such a process is that all user groups signed off in advance and established exact standards for what the final building provided," he says.

"Dr. Breuder insisted we prepare a detailed educational specifications [ed spec] list in advance," Meyers says. "This list covers everything the culinary staff wanted to see designed into our facility."

For Smith, in addition to the project's fast track, his main challenge was synthesizing three disparate programs into one cohesive building. "The culinary program required large, rectangular-shaped spaces with very high plenum spaces for ventilation and direct access to roof areas for the large amounts of ventilation," he says. "As the anchor program in the building, the labs need to be grouped closely around the main student entrance and the college desired visibility from the lobby to showcase the program."

In contrast, Smith says, the hospitality program uses the functioning hotel as a working laboratory, which leads to spatial requirements that are similar to a typical multiple-floor hotel, with larger meeting spaces on lower floors and smaller meeting spaces on the floor with the guest rooms. For security and separation of the hotel guest from student spaces, the guest rooms are located on a separate, upper floor with controlled access.

The multimedia space, an operational television and video production facility, requires a large, clear-span studio space, as well as associated control and production/edit suites, which tend to be very small. This department has all of its own audiovisual equipment, in contrast to culinary labs that feature individual AV systems for classroom use.

Whitney also was challenged to meet the various needs expressed in the ed spec list, as well as requirements to keep class size to a maximum of 16 students, into his detailed schematic design plan for the skill lab, two restaurants, demo amphitheater and two pastry/bake labs. "We considered current student load and potential future growth," Whitney says. "When I create a detailed plan this early in the process we end up with very functional labs that specify the amount of space needed so the architect can hold these plans and not cut back arbitrarily."

Materials also differ in various parts of the center. "While very durable materials are used throughout the building, the public fine-dining restaurant and hotel guest room floor used extensive natural-wood finishes that wouldn't be appropriate for student labs and classrooms," Smith says. "All corridors were provided with wall protection to accommodate the deliveries and abuse expected in a culinary school environment. The design of the actual kitchens and teaching labs meets foodservice standards, using heavy-duty quarry-tile floors, full-height ceramic and stainless steel walls, and all stainless steel equipment."