Amenta Emma Completes University Dining Hall

| February 26, 2020

Quinnipiac north campus dining area

Hamden, CT – Several Quinnipiac University graduate programs are housed on a former corporate campus a few miles from the main Mount Carmel campus. The circa 1980 building had a well-worn cafeteria space that students largely avoided, and an underutilized rear patio in disrepair. What began as a project to update furnishings quickly evolved into a partial renovation that converts the outdated 9,400sf cafeteria into an engaging student-centric dining hall used for socializing, studying, dining and games.

The goal was to take this multi-functional space, which also is used for student orientation, banquet dinners, holiday parties and other functions, and create a variety of flexible seating and spatial environments that encouraged greater student use.

North campus dining

Moving away from a large, undifferentiated cafeteria, designers created a series of lounge spaces within the dining area. These spaces, aimed at promoting student gatherings, featured unique finishes and lighting, along with lounge furnishings that offer an alternative to traditional dining seating.  Student engagement with the new space also was enhanced by creating easy access to technology and power, with many of the furnishings having direct plug-in capacity.

Lounge spaces within the dining area


Understanding that they had to make a big impact by working in small ways, designers took the opportunity to try new ideas and test materials. For example, they took advantage of existing assets, such as skylights, and created a unique wooden ceiling canopy with illuminated acoustic baffles that aid with acoustics in a noisy environment and add texture to the space.  The project also resulted in a meaningful collaboration between the university’s Integrated Marketing & Communications Group and the Amenta Emma’s graphics and interior professionals to create a signature Quinnipiac feature wall.

Quinnipiac reports an increase in use from early morning until late at night, with some student groups hosting events such as game night in the new dining hall. “The students love the space, and the whole environment here now speaks more directly to what they are looking for,” says a university spokesperson. The dining hall opened in fall 2019.


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Category: All, Education

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