Conestoga College Centre for Culinary and Hospitality Innovation - Waterloo, ON (Canada)

Practice makes perfect

For the North Campus Expansion project at Conestoga College in Waterloo, Gow Hasting Architects teamed up with Moriyama & Teshima Architects to design fresh, light and welcoming spaces with both an educational and showcase function.
Laura Milan
Scott Norsworthy
Gow Hastings Architects + Moriyama & Teshima Architects
Collaborative Structures Limited
Stone Tile International
Year of completion
With its 14,500 square metres of floor space and sleek, cleanly styled architecture, the North Campus Expansion of Canada's Conestoga College completed in 2019 not only has an educational function but also serves as the face of an institution. Led by Ottawa-based firm Gow Hasting Architects in association with Toronto-based Moriyama & Teshima Architects, the project is part of a major renovation and expansion of the university campus in Waterloo, Ontario. It involved transforming a former high school built in the 1960s into a multifunctional hub strategically located on University Avenue, making it the main entry point to the entire campus. Accessible via a forecourt covered by a canopy of photovoltaic panels, the building houses the new Center for Culinary and Hospitality Innovation and the Center for Advanced Learning in Information Technology, as well as common spaces such as the career service and foreign student offices. Located in its western section, the Center for Culinary and Hospitality Innovation is an innovative hybrid space for the School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, which provides interactive and experimental instruction for food professionals while paying tribute to the hi-tech agricultural production of the local region and incorporating locally grown food into the teaching activities. Cooking, mixology, bakery and meat preparation classes along with show cooking activities and other events are hosted in open, flexible facilities including fully equipped labs, a demonstration theatre, dining rooms, a 99-seat multi-purpose lecture theatre, food handling spaces and areas for use by staff and students. But the real highlight of the Centre is Bloom, an interactive live classroom and teaching restaurant managed by a school that also organises internships and gives students practical experience in menu preparation and customer service. In the Centre for Culinary and Hospitality Innovation, everything is open and on display, the educational function reflected in choice of white, grey, warm wood and cold stainless steel for the cleanly styled industrial kitchens. Full-height glazed partitions separate the teaching and practical areas from the internal corridors and the exterior. In this fresh, light and welcoming setting, Italian ceramic tiles show off their quality and versatility to the full and help create beautiful, functional and distinctive spaces. The white background is customised by repetitive warm and cold splashes of colour created from 6x25 cm strips (CE.SI. Ceramica di Sirone, I Colori series) laid in a herringbone pattern. The colours Salvia, Cotone, Bianco, Polvere and Perla are used on the walls in the labs and the Demonstration Theatre, clearly visible from the corridor, while Perla, Quarzo, Vermiglio and Cotone bring a lively touch to the restaurant's kitchen, which is left completely open to view. Valerie Gow commented: "The culinary labs are all visible from the central corridors. They are fitted with state-of-the-art appliances, AV equipment, and colourful, herringbone-patterned backsplashes to add interest to an otherwise technical, utilitarian space."
I Colori by CE.SI. Ceramica di Sirone
porcelain stoneware
6x25 cm
Perla, Quarzo, Vermiglio, Cotone, Salvia, Bianco, Polvere
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): conforme
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): conforme
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): conforme
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
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