Susan Doban Architect, PC, has taken a former auto repair shop in New Rochelle, NY, and transformed it into a sleek, state-of-the-art culinary arts facility for Monroe College. A dedication ceremony for the new Culinary Arts Center, part of the School of Hospitality Management and the Culinary Arts, was held October 13.

‘The existing building was a box and not distinguished architecturally so we gave it character using an industrial palette of materials inspired by the stainless steel equipment used in the kitchens,” said Susan Doban, president of Susan Doban Architect, PC. “And, to take advantage of the light from the existing industrial windows facing the street, we created a ceiling that appears to soar.”

The one-story building’s most dramatic feature, however, is a window that opens up onto a courtyard, bringing more light into the facility and enlivening the courtyard.

“We opened up a wall facing the courtyard and added a window that runs the full length of the building,” Ms. Doban said. “Now the students in the facility can look out into the courtyard while they’re preparing food, and the students relaxing in the courtyard can view what’s cooking. This courtyard is important to the life of the college because it is one of the few open spaces at this urban campus, and it is further invigorated by the character of the renovation. Aluminum sun shades on the new curtain wall façade distinguish it aesthetically but integrate climate control into the building’s façade.”

Ms. Doban’s firm worked as a team with food service consultants Clevenger Frable LaVallee of White Plains; Professor Luke Schultheis, Dean of The School of Hospitality Management & The Culinary Arts, and Professor Daniel Hinder, Director of Culinary Arts, to create a list of equipment and specifications for the interior of the school. Holt Construction Co. of Pearl River, New York, was the construction manager for the project.

The result is a facility divided into four classroom/kitchens—two are general kitchens, the third is a banquet kitchen, and the fourth is a pastry kitchen. Each has its own battery of equipment that will enable students to prepare dishes using the equipment they might encounter in a local restaurant or even a cruise ship.

“We asked Susan Doban Architect, PC to create a new home for Monroe College’s School of Hospitality Management and the Culinary Arts on a very tight schedule and we are delighted with the results,” Marc Jerome, vice president of Monroe College. “The firm produced a unique, high-quality, state-of-the-art facility that will help our students obtain associate degrees and prepare for successful careers in the food services industry.”

The architects have designed other facilities for Monroe’s New Rochelle campus, including Allison Hall, a 200-student dormitory that opened in fall 2004 and Milavec Hall, an administration and classroom building that opened in 2003. Susan Doban Architect, PC also has designed Harrison Hall, a 61,500 square foot dormitory for Monroe College that will house 300 students and a cafeteria serving the entire campus. Construction on the new dorm is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2007.

In addition, Susan Doban Architect, PC has restored façades on New Rochelle’s Main Street as part of the New Rochelle Business Improvement District’s Model Development Block project, and created Façade Renovation Design Standards, a book of guidelines for building façade restoration that will improve the appearance of the New Rochelle downtown business district.

In Brooklyn, Susan Doban Architect, PC has designed 45 residential units above the Fairway Supermarket on Van Brunt Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and streetscapes for Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, and for Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The firm also designed the offices of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce in a 19th Century building that originally housed a major department store. In recognition of the design, the Chamber presented the firm with one of its Building Brooklyn Awards in 2004. In the last two and a half years, Susan Doban Architect, PC has worked on more than 30 New York City School Construction Authority projects.

More information about Susan Doban Architect, PC is available at 718-797-1041 or www.susandoban.com.

On request: Rendering of the interior of Monroe College’s new Culinary Arts Center.