Culinary school

A complex program: a culinary institute located on a prominent corner in Ottawa’s Chinatown. Must include a practice kitchen, demo kitchen, restaurant, chef residence, a delivery area, food storage and disposal.

Various exposed mechanical elements or functional sculptures are found around the site. The starting point was the programmatic, playful inhabitation of a tube. A tubular form represents an industrial process; a kitchen in this case. ‘Building as living organism’ was the driving concept. The structure of the Culinary School emulates a variety of objects within the landscape embodying different stages and transitions in between them. Various cuts and penetrations through the building allow for pedestrian flow as well as natural sunlight. The school and the restaurant are closest to the pedestrain-heavy Somerset Street. The building engages the public through its partially submerged curvilinear form and overhangs. The Culinary School focuses on molecular gastronomy- the science of cooking. The practise kitchen is a place where both learning and experimentation takes place, similar to a laboratory. Culinary students can be observed through a slit window above grade by passers-by. A single-storey restaurant floats above the school offering a pleasant view onto the neighbourhood.

type of project: commercial / educational, individual
location: Somerset Street West, Ottawa
supervisor: Mohammed al-Riffai
date of completion: december 2009



Ground floor, hand-drawn plan.

Underground and above ground restaurant plans superimposed.


Approaching the Culinary School from Somerset Street West.

Patio ontop of storage and freezers connecting the restaurant above.

Main entrance to restaurant through Culinary school lobby.

The school is located below grade, with a view onto the main street.

Initial sketch models

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