The Culinary and Allied Health Building anchors Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s new Bronson Healthy Living Campus near downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan. The 76,000 SF building features a 3-story atrium, culinary theater, community education kitchen, restaurant, and café on the first level. The second floor is home to culinary labs, classrooms, and a sustainable brewing lab while the third floor houses the nursing skills labs and classrooms.
The design responds to the project’s objectives to promote health, food, sustainability, and community through form, materials and symbolism. The building is positioned to address the streets on the north and west facades while the south overlooks a water feature that was created as part of the campus sustainable management plan. Exterior brick relates contextually to the adjacent Bronson Hospital. Green and blue glass represents earth and sky, the natural elements involved in growing food, while randomly positioned angled window mullions symbolize plant stalks.
The glazed, sloped entry lobby is capped with a roof overhang which continues around the building to form a colonnaded sunshade over the south terrace. The building plan shifts on the eastern side to respond to the shift in the city street grid and is clad with insulated metal panels and large expanses of curtainwall representing the innovative aspects of the campus. The exterior envelope also incorporates closed cell insulation, aluminum sun shades, and a vegetated green wall further reinforcing the project’s sustainable strategies.
The design of interior and exterior was carefully woven together for a cohesive whole. The entry lobby features a dramatic 3-story atrium that highlights the culinary and health programs above and assists in wayfinding. A folded wood panel frames upper level openings and are accented by slivers of light which invite viewers to explore further into the café and dining spaces beyond.
Sustainable strategies continue on the interior through the careful selection of highly durable and reclaimed materials. Dynamic canted bamboo wood elements and decorative lighting accent entries to the learning spaces. Public areas receive large format wall tiles for longevity and cleanability, while colored concrete adorns the floors with patterns tied in to the building design elements.