Cuyahoga Community College – Hospitality Management Center & Pura Vida Restaurant

  • area / size 25,000 sqft
  • Completed 2011
  • Bialosky Cleveland completed Cuyahoga Community College’s Hospitality Management Center and Pura Vida Restaurant located in Cleveland, Ohio.

    Two projects in one, Cuyahoga Community College’s Hospitality Management Center (HMC) and the adjacent private restaurant Pura Vida, help activate downtown Cleveland’s Public Square with a fresh culinary experience. The project goal was to create a new image for the college via contemporary, forward-looking architecture, while making an inviting community nexus that appealed to a wide audience through the art of cooking. Interested in finding a balance between the rich memory of the former department store structure and the contemporary aesthetic of the culinary program and restaurant, the design of the separate, but connected spaces embraced the raw nature of the existing space with a legible insertion of new materials, thoughtful lighting and vibrant colors.

    A new storefront celebrates and clearly communicates the activities within–both through its transparency and with four contiguous rear projection video screens that allow viewers on Public Square to be voyeurs in the culinary experience. The rear portion of the lobby houses the theater style demonstration kitchen where professors and celebrity chefs come to put on an inspiring culinary show. The space is framed by wood shells with linear lighting that contrasts the exposed concrete super-structure. The lobby acts as a direct link between HMC and Pura Vida with a vertical-lift wall that combines the spaces for special events. Glass walls admit views into the restaurant kitchen allowing the culinary students and visitors to see the instruction process in action. Additional wood and light elements appear further along the central spine of the HMC space and identify key nodes for student/professor interaction outside teaching kitchens, classrooms, offices and a conference center.

    Pura Vida restaurant borrows many of its design cues from the HMC space, while taking on an intimate texture in the form of imperfect reclaimed wood and a flowing sculptural ceiling. White scrims located along the ceiling celebrate the exposed concrete structure above while functioning as a screen for the color-changing LEDs fixtures. The programmed lighting matches the desired moods of the space as it transitions from morning to evening with ranges from a warm, bright morning glow to a cool, active night-club experience. The scrims morph into a fabric chandelier that dips down over the semi-private dining lounge to create a more intimate VIP area. The bar re-introduces the wood shell design from HMC in the form of reclaimed boards perforated by subtle spot lights in a shifted pattern to echo the random locations of the former nail and knot holes inherent in reclaimed wood. The kitchen, also seen from the HMC space, is on display to the whole restaurant, enhancing the idea of Culinary Theater and demystifying the art of cooking.

    ArchitectBialosky Cleveland
    MEPT Engineers: Scheeser Buckley Mayfield, LLC.
    Structural Engineers: Thorson Baker & Associates, Inc.
    Photography: Scott Pease