Rutgers Redefines Campus Dining with Stunning New Facility

Today’s college campus dining experience is a far cry from what it once was. Enter a dining hall and you’ll discover it feels less like a cafeteria and more like an upscale restaurant. But it’s not just about serving better food. It’s also about creating atmosphere, and that’s what Rutgers University set out to do when they built a new, 65,000 square foot dining commons on the school’s Livingston campus.

The new dining hall is part of an ongoing building program at Rutgers. A team from The Biber Partnership architectural firm (including Peter Biber, principal in charge; Lauren Mitchell, project manager, architect and Linda Patten, Director of Interiors) worked with Rutgers to ensure the facility would meet several important criteria:

  • The school has sustainability goals, and the use of no-VOC materials is especially important in a food service atmosphere.

  • The cafeteria needed to be both beautiful and functional. Rutgers wanted the “wow” factor, but they also needed to be sure the facility functioned well.

  • The dining hall is a high traffic area, which means durability and maintenance of materials are top priorities.

“We wanted the walls to have the warm, contemporary feel of copper,” explains Linda.

Naturally, there was also a budget to consider. Copper had the right look but was cost-prohibitive and difficult to maintain. Linda proposed an alternative:

Dimension Walls from MDC. The covering Linda selected has the kinetic look of copper without the expense. “It’s a strikingly beautiful, textured surface that’s surprisingly rugged and easily cleaned,” Linda says. “It was the ideal solution for Rutgers’ new dining hall walls.”

The Dimension Walls material is durable enough to withstand food cart bumps, and it cleans with the wipe of a wet sponge. The Biber Partnership used the material in high traffic areas and behind the beverage counters of the dining hall. It’s also used on the dining hall columns, and the textured finish provides a nice contrast to the smooth maple and cherry wood, as well as the granite countertops.

The MDC representative arranged for an on-site mock-up of Dimension Walls prior to installation so that Rutgers was able to see first-hand how the product performs.

The new dining hall is part of Rutgers’ redevelopment of the Livingston Campus as an environmentally friendly center for business and professional studies.

“Through the work we do with Rutgers, our goal is always to try to create a sense of community,” Linda concludes. 


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