PCA design wins awards for $8m renovation of UConn dining hall

McMahon Dining Hall. Photo courtesey of Prellwitz Chilinski. Photographer: Anton Grassl / Esto.
McMahon Dining Hall. Photo courtesey of Prellwitz Chilinski. Photographer: Anton Grassl / Esto.

A dining hall renovation at the University of Connecticut has won several awards for its design, said the project’s designer, Prellwitz Chilinski Associates Inc., a Cambridge-based architectural firm of 40 people.

Prellwitz Chilinski Associates, or PCA, was commissioned to renovate and expand a 1960’s era cafeteria on the university’s main campus in Storrs. In renovating McMahon Dining Hall, PCA oversaw a 5,000-square-foot expansion to the cafeteria’s original 14,000 square feet of space.

In its new format, McMahon Dining Hall features restaurant-style “display kitchens”, new connections to adjacent residential towers, and the “vibrant, airy, porch-like feel of a ‘pavilion in the woods,’” PCA said.

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UConn’s goal for the $8 million project was to increase the dining hall’s capacity by 200 seats and make an “underperforming 300-seat dining center” into a “showcase for great food and student interaction,” PCA said.

The hall reopened in its new format just before the beginning of the fall term last August.

McMahon is the first LEED Gold Commercial interiors “CI” certified project on a UConn campus. The McMahon renovation has won a state energy efficiency award. And in addition to the Most Energy Efficient Top Building Award, McMahon has been awarded a 2013 1st Place for Excellence in Renovation / Construction by the Associated Builders & Contractors, PCA said.

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