George Brown College Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts

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George Brown College Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts
George Brown College, Toronto, Canada The George Brown College Culinary School recently undertook a renovation and expansion of their facilities in the School for Hospitality at 300 Adelaide Street East and 215 King Street East in Toronto. This involved a new addition and the interior fit-out of the existing school at the Adelaide Street location, incorporating some new spaces, and a completely new interior for a heritage building on King Street which now houses the College’s new teaching restaurant with additional classroom spaces above. The two locations are linked on a north south axis by Frederick Street, which now functions as a busy pedestrian thoroughfare, further revitalizing the neighbourhood. Together the two buildings now form the George Brown College School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts. The Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts 300 Adelaide Street East, Toronto 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 1980’s building into a showcase for innovation in culinary education. The $18 million project enables the college to expand its food and hospitality programs by as much as fifty per cent, 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 culinary performance through a two-storey glass façade that exposes four kitchen “labs` to the street. 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 brightly-coloured fume hoods and walls, sparkling lighting, lush herb gardens and plasma monitors that 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 glamourizing 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 predominantly historic masonry buildings along Adelaide Street. From the interior, the glazing provides views down Frederick Street towards the school’s newly created learning restaurant, The Chefs’ House, visually connecting the two buildings. 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. The Chefs’ House Restaurant 215 King Street East, Toronto The extensive 18,000 sq.ft. renovation and restoration of a turn-of-the-century factory and warehouse building on Toronto’s King Street East provides the setting for George Brown College’s new Chefs’ House Restaurant and three storeys of classrooms above. The project showcases the building’s historic features while also transforming it with a contemporary spirit. Augmenting George Brown College’s renowned Chef School program, The Chefs’ House is a fully functioning restaurant that provides students with an authentic learning experience and the city with an unusual dining destination. Drawing connections to the college’s new Chef School building (which is visible from the restaurant), The Chefs’ House entertains diners and passersby with the spectacle of the chefs’ activities and gives the chefs plenty of contact with their patrons. The exterior of the listed, brick and steel building was restored and adorned with a custom-designed light installation, glass cladding and a glass canopy that help to distinguish the building as a landmark within the neighbourhood. The main floor was lowered two feet to grade level, facilitating a direct connection with the streetscape. Reflecting new philosophies within the culinary profession, a large, open-concept kitchen is located at the front of the restaurant. The kitchen is fully visible from the exterior through new, 15 foot high windows and the prep counters are flush against the windows so that as the chefs work, they become live mannequins and the restaurant’s best signage. Entering The Chefs’ House through a coloured-glass vestibule, patrons are struck by the contrast between the slick contemporary elements and the rawness of the exposed brick walls and wood ceiling of the host building. The kitchen’s industrial, stainless steel countertops, cupboards, ranges and ovens are framed by glossy red tiling and a backlit glass bar with a silky white quartz countertop that dips to serve as a hostess’ reception desk and doubles as a chef’s table. A new, undulating ceiling over a section of the room creates a more intimate scale, sweeping over the kitchen like a ribbon and unfurling over a portion of the dining area and then slipping down the far wall. Compressed above the kitchen, this ceiling frames a sophisticated stainless steel ventilation system and hides its mechanics. Rising over the dining area, the ceiling is punctured by slots that are discretely lined with acoustic paneling and fluorescent lighting to absorb excess noise while also creating a sculptural appearance. Adjacent to the new ceiling, a lyrical arrangement of hand-cut, cast glass globes embedded with low voltage bulbs imbues the interior with a sense of levity and lustre. Seen through the windows, they spark the curiosity of those on the exterior to explore the buzz within.


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