ACE Center’s innovative design receives honor from AIA


Tour of the Klenk Café and Teaching Kitchens

Ashley McGraw Architects honored by American Institute of Architects for innovative design of Falk College’s Nutrition ACE Center, Klenk Café and Teaching Kitchens

The American Institute of Architects Central New York Chapter (AIA CNY) honored Falk College, its Department of Public Health, Food Studies, and Nutrition, and its architects, Ashley McGraw Architects, D.P.C. The group’s work in Falk Complex was cited for innovative ideas, attention to detail, and dedication to the design profession as contributing to the architectural success of the Central New York region and beyond. The award was presented at the AIA Central New York’s annual Celebration of Architecture at the Hotel Syracuse. AIA CNY recognizes outstanding works of architecture through its annual design awards program. The purpose of the program is to celebrate achievements in design excellence by architects in the Central New York region and to honor the architects, clients and consultants who work together to create and enhance the environment that was built.

“We are very proud of our partners and colleagues from Ashley McGraw for this award. We could not be more pleased with the design and the excellent learning opportunities their innovative design continues to provide our students in our food, nutrition and public health programs,” says Falk College Dean, Diane Lyden Murphy.

The Susan R. Klenk Learning Café and Kitchens opened in September 2016 and provides a hands-on learning laboratory to prepare students with traditional and emerging professional competencies for careers in food, nutrition, dietetics, and public health. The facility includes an experimental food lab kitchen, commercial kitchen, baking nook and café. A video camera system allows faculty and chef instructors to broadcast classes, food demonstrations and seminars from Falk College to anywhere on campus and across the country. A generous and visionary gift from Falk College alumna, Susan R. Klenk, made the learning café and kitchens possible.

The experimental food lab includes an 8 station-teaching kitchen and an associated café. Lunch is served in the café during the last four weeks of each semester, allowing hands-on experience for the students at every stage of food planning, preparation and service.

“Not only was it a rewarding experience working with the College to design these important spaces, but it has been gratifying to witness students taking ownership of them,” says Christina Aßmann, project architect, Ashley McGraw Architects, D.P.C.

The ACE Center’s demonstration kitchen features an island-cooking suite at the front of a 50-seat lecture hall. Cameras capture the activity of cooking from every angle, images are projected on 3 large TV screens above the counter, giving the audience multiple perspectives of the activity at hand and providing the possibility of recording or broadcasting.

The learning café and teaching kitchens set the stage for industry-leading, forward-thinking approaches to food and culture, nutrition, research, and food studies development. The design fosters creativity and collaboration across a variety of departments, schools and colleges, creating interdisciplinary partnerships that support teaching innovation, student learning, research and scholarship. In addition to unlimited faculty-supervised hands-on experiences, this dedicated space provides an ideal environment for student-faculty research projects and educational community partnerships that set the SU programs apart.