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New England Institute of Technology Student Center and Dining Commons

East Greenwich, RI

The design inspiration for the food servery NEIT was it’s location by East Greenwich and the idea of a sea side New England town. The first component we created was an interactive and engaging retail dining multi station platform where faculty, staff, and students can come shop through a marketplace of choices. The goal of the project was to give the school a cutting edge design from a food service standpoint but also give the customer an experience of walking around a rocky New England seaside shore. We emulated the shapes and forms of a cliff in the ceiling that surrounds all the stations in addition using materials and textures on the stations plus surrounding areas that would be found throughout New England.
For the surrounding seating areas we wanted to carry the design story through the space, this was done by mimicking the ocean floor in the flooring pattern and creating overhead structures that resemble boardwalks that brake up the ceiling plane and create more intimate spaces in a sea of seating. One big focus was to have spaces for commuter students to study, and relax while on campus and be an engaging community gathering space for all people on campus.We achieved this by having a mix of seating types and carving out an area called the sports pub which features stadium seating, gaming areas, ceiling mounted TV’s and plenty of places to plug in to use a laptop, tablet or phone. For the Student Center component we focused the program of this area on the second floor. This space is meant to reflect an abstract version of circuit boards and gaming components which ties back to the school’s focus on developing technology in the learning atmosphere. The space has a central focus of a stage for performances, karaoke, or for students to gather and watch a sporting event. Radiating of the stage are gaming pods where students can get together with their friends and play video games. On the flanking walls of the stage there are areas for pool, ping pong, air hockey, and foosball which are separated by bright colorful millwork screens and overheads. This space is designed to help foster connections between commuter and residential students.

When moving on to the existing space, the same concept of the rocky shore will be continued throughout the seating spaces with board walk over heads over the booths, a mix of lounge seating and dining seating to give multiple options for people using the space. The existing space also houses the new and expanded student activities suite to support their growing need for student support on campus. When entering the existing space from Tech Way you will be welcomed by the retail cafe which serves Starbucks.

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