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Curtiss Kitchen and Dining Facility, CFB Borden (2015)

04 Mar 2016
Image Credit: Brenda Liu Photographer
Architectural Credit: ZAS Architects and Jean-Christian Koch Architecte in joint venture
Location: Canadian Forces Base, Borden, ON
Architects: ZAS Architects and Jean-Christian Koch Architecte in joint venture
Date of completion: 2015
OAA Awards 2016 Design Excellence Finalist

Part of a large masterplan to create a pedestrian campus at the Canadian Forces Base in Borden, Ontario, the Curtiss Kitchen and Dining Facility is one of two new dining facilities intended to replace the dozen or so disparate ones currently being used at the base. With a capacity to seat 1,500 military personnel per meal, 750 at a time in two sittings, and an intuitive programmatic layout, the dining facility demonstrates that utilitarian spaces can also be interesting and inviting.

The facility’s program includes a dining hall, kitchen facilities and office areas, as well as washrooms and first aid facilities for the adjacent soccer pitches. The design strategy focused on providing a pleasant, efficient and enduring building with plenty of natural light and optimized interior traffic flow. The building’s plan, forms, colours and materials are all used effectively to convey an intuitive understanding of path and use – diners who have never entered the building are naturally brought through the facility in a loop, completing it with no cross-circulation.

It’s most distinctive feature is the dramatic glue laminated tree-like columns and arches. These structural elements, along with the sweeping views of the natural context, provide diners with a comfortable and peaceful environment for meals – a welcome respite in an otherwise grueling schedule.

While military facilities are often associated with drab utilitarian complexes, the Curtiss Kitchen and Dining Facility reflects a shifting direction in Canada’s military architecture, one that is more humane and rewarding for our service men and women.

To view the complete submission, including additional images and drawings, click here.

This post (4/20) is part of the OAA Awards 2016 Design Excellence Finalists blOAAg series celebrating the best of Ontario architecture. Every day during the month of March we will be posting a new finalist. You can view all posts by clicking here. Winners will be announced April 1, 2016.  

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March 16, 2016 16:53 by Anonymous
What a change from utilitarian military buildings. This is real architecture. It exhibits attention to program elements and added value to users. Too often we are asked to choose winners based on a few pretty photos. The intuitive circulation layout here is a significant contribution to the design. I suspect that many users will only be on the base for short periods. Giving them a comfortable, attractive and easy to understand dining space (for 750 at a time) is what makes this excellent architecture. "Architecture matters"

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