Eye-catching renovation provides colourful showcase for culinary arts
The 19,000 sq ft, three-storey in-ﬁll addition and 47,000 sq ft interior renovation of the George Brown Chef School on Toronto's Adelaide Street East dramatically opens and transforms a 1980s building into a showcase for innovation in culinary education.
Completed in 2008, the $18 million project enables the college to expand its food and hospitality programmes by as much as ﬁfty percent, to attract and retain the best faculty and students and to augment the school's presence within the city by initiating a recognizable campus landmark.
No longer conﬁned to rear and basement kitchens, George Brown's student chefs are visible in a cinematic culinary performance through a two-storey glass façade that exposes four kitchen 'labs' to the street. This revealing transparency beckons an audience from the streets of the city.
The students' starched white chef uniforms and hats are highly visible against a backdrop of gleaming stainless steel workstations, ranges, ovens, washing stations and racks of pots and pans. The stainless steel is accented by colours inspired by the food and beverage industry - vibrant energy efficient fume hoods and walls, sparkling lighting, lush herb gardens and plasma monitors add a kinetic and spectacular effect to the architecture as they project close-up views of food preparation.
These exposed labs reﬂect the changing proﬁle of the culinary industry by not only glamourising the preparation of food, but also by offering students a hands-on experience, rather than learning within more conventional demonstration kitchens. The street level views into the interiors of the kitchen labs provide the ultimate branding tool for the college. Even when the school is closed, horizontal strips of coloured glass ensure that the façade provides an interesting counterpoint to the austere visual landscape of predominant historic masonry buildings along Adelaide Street.
These fresh facilities increase the dynamism of George Brown's presence within the neighbourhood and frame the street so that there are clear possibilities for creating an external campus identity.
Prime Consultant: Kearns Mancini Architects Kitchen Designer: Gow Hastings Architects