UC Davis Latitude Dining is Cover Feature of School Construction News Fall Issue: "Uncommon Commons Dynamic New Dining Facility at UC Davis Takes Local Inspiration"
We're pleased to share that the UC Davis Latitude Dining Commons is the cover feature of the fall issue of School Construction News! You can read the full feature by clicking the PDF download button below or using the link to SCN's website at the bottom of this page.
"While the current pandemic has hamstrung the full-fledged use of the facility, it’s hard to picture a more dynamic dining facility than one unveiled earlier this year in the Golden State.
Designed by HED and built by Otto Construction, the venue is the new, 500-seat, 33,000-square-foot on-campus Latitude Dining Commons at UC Davis. The design is inspired by the verdant Central Valley spread between the Sierra Nevada and coastal mountains. The program includes full commercial kitchen capability and provides multiple international food platforms as well as retail grab-n-go and convenience options.
The building picks up on the agricultural roots of the region and the shed/barn vernacular, providing students a place to eat, meet, study, and lounge. And the space represents the food and farming culture of the region and the institution itself.
The building includes a two-level area that includes front of house public functions (dining, serving, queuing, and retail), and a one-level mass that includes all back of house functions. The double-height dining space includes a mezzanine level to the south that faces a view garden. The project will also include a loading dock for deliveries, outdoor seating opportunities, circulation, site improvements, and bicycle parking. The HED development team’s integrated approach combines the University of California Davis’ minimum requirements with its own innovations to achieve LEED Gold certification.
Otto and HED saw the budget as a shared design challenge and took equal responsibility for that. Otto and HED proved to be a cultural fit, and the team members connected around an ethos of transparency, honesty, and authenticity. And they had fun with the Farm to Fork theme: Agendas for client meetings had a menu theme (including a bill for the budget meeting).
The design is inspired by the Central Valley spread between the coastal mountains and the Sierra Nevada. Within the sun-drenched agricultural heart of the state and the nation, a simple and functional design vernacular has developed. Structure is exposed, roofs are pitched, and materials and details are straightforward and functional.
The new building is sited between Tercero residential buildings to the south across Tercero Drive, future science buildings across Bioletti Way, and connects a major campus street, Hutchison to the North. In the future a new campus pedestrian path will connect the project site to the eastern reaches of the campus. The project is therefore both a focus for the residences and the sciences as well as a gateway building for the entire campus.
The landscape is contoured to allow multiple pathways to link the bounding sidewalk with dining and retail entrances. A continuous band of active public terraces shares views with pedestrians and cyclists along Bioletti Way. Tables and chairs, benches and generous steps encourage students to hang out, wait for friends or eat a bite purchased at the Retail facility as they study under the trees. Bike parking is located at the south and north ends of the site so that conflicts between bikes and pedestrians are minimized.
A light metal clad folded roof floats up above large glass walls and extends out to shade entrances and terraces or folds down into cement plaster clad walls to at once embody lightness on the one hand and connect to the ground on the other. While this roof form is redolent of a barn roof, its fluid shape and expressed movement is intended to create a strong presence befitting an important campus student center.
The double-height dining space is divided by a mezzanine level into a south area that faces a view garden and future site of a new residence building, and a dining area that faces east to Bioletti Way and its activities. The mezzanine connects second level exterior terraces at the east and south facades which in turn shade terrace area and the main dining entrance below. From the mezzanine one has views to the retail so that the collective energy of both spaces is shared. Painted steel stairs between the first and second levels stand free in the space creating a “see and be seen” dynamic that adds to the public theater of this important student hub."