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New dining facilities at CFB Borden unveiled


March 13, 2016
by Elsa Lam

CFB Borden - Curtiss Dining Facility (Photo: Brenda Liu)

CFB Borden – Curtiss Dining Facility (Photo: Brenda Liu)

Montreal-based firm FABRIQ Architecture and Toronto-based ZAS Architects have recently collaborated to complete two new dining facilities at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden, north of Toronto, Ontario. The new facilities are intended to replace the dozen or so disparate ones currently being used at the base.

CFB Borden - Curtiss Dining Facility (Photo: Brenda Liu)

CFB Borden – Curtiss Dining Facility (Photo: Brenda Liu)

The new facilities integrate into the base’s masterplan of a pedestrian campus and nearly all diners will reach them by foot. The program for each building includes the dining hall, kitchen facilities and office areas, as well as washroom and first aid facilities for the adjacent soccer pitches. Each facility is designed to address current food service deficiencies and to prepare for future needs, seating 750 at a time, for a total of 1,500 diners per meal through 2 sittings.

CFB Borden - Vickers Dining Facility (Photo: Brenda Liu)

CFB Borden – Vickers Dining Facility (Photo: Brenda Liu)

The design strategy for these prototype kitchen and dining facilities focused on providing pleasant, efficient and enduring buildings with plenty of natural light and optimized interior traffic flows. The exterior forms are deliberately orthogonal, streamlined and understated in order to produce elegant buildings that fit in with the existing built environment at the base.

CFB Borden - Vickers Dining Facility (Photo: Brenda Liu)

CFB Borden – Vickers Dining Facility (Photo: Brenda Liu)

As you enter the facilities, the aesthetic changes, and interiors feature dramatic glue laminated arboriform wood columns and beams, in reference to the pine forests that were once dominant in the area. These structural elements, along with the sweeping views of the natural context provided by floor-to-ceiling curtain wall, aim to provide diners with a comfortable, peaceful environment for meals—all the better to appreciate the respite in their otherwise gruelling schedules.

CFB Borden - Vickers Dining Facility (Photo: Brenda Liu)

CFB Borden – Vickers Dining Facility (Photo: Brenda Liu)

It is difficult to overstate the importance of wayfinding for forward flow in these facilities. The buildings’ plans, forms, colours and materials are all used effectively to convey an intuitive understanding of path and use—diners who have never entered the buildings are naturally brought through the facilities in a loop, with no cross-circulation. This is very important considering the volume of diners. Forward flow design is also used in the service and kitchen areas. From deliveries to the table and back to the trash, the design is carefully tailored to avoid cross-traffic.

CFB Borden - Vickers Dining Facility (Photo: Brenda Liu)

CFB Borden – Vickers Dining Facility (Photo: Brenda Liu)

The use of form and colour to help inform clients is also used on the exteriors. Spaces intended for the public are housed in the light coloured, taller block, while the darker block is reserved for the mechanical and kitchen areas.

CFB Borden - Vickers Dining Facility (Photo: Brenda Liu)

CFB Borden – Vickers Dining Facility (Photo: Brenda Liu)

The projects target LEED Silver certification. Along with common ecological features, the projects were particularly innovative in the use of ultra-high efficiency kitchen equipment and providing daylight and exterior views—something seldom found in large commercial kitchens. They are also two of the first facilities of their kind in Canada to use state-of-the art, automated waste-disposal vacuum systems, preventing contamination of food with waste.



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