University of Illinois Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Halls Dining Remodel Winner

Interior Architecture Award, Citation of Merit

The redesign of the Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall Dining Facility provided the opportunity for the University to try out a range of new ideas as the first in a new generation of dining options on the Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, campus. Like many of the student life facilities at the University's flagship campus, it was built in the 60's in the bare, institutional style common for the period.

The conceptual challenge is to change from an institutional service model to a retail service model. Instead of the two hour breakfast, lunch and dinner periods, the new facility is conceived of as a 24/7 environment that encourages students to hang out, study in groups and socialize instead of retreating to their rooms.

A new entry pavilion is provided allowing students to actually see the new spaces from the front door, advertising its presence to residents and visitors alike. The new PAR Dining Hall has an edgy, warm and funky personality and has been embraced by the students who use it in droves. Confirmation of its success came about six weeks after opening when we were asked to see if the space could accommodate and additional 40 to 60 seats (10 - 15%).

DeStefano Partners
  • Environmental Systems Design, Inc.
  • Rubinos & Mesia Engineers, Inc.
  • The Baker Group
General contractor
CORE Construction Services of Illinois, Inc.
Urbana-Champaign, Illinois