“the Kitchens at Reynolds delivers a new kind of monument where brilliant, smart and highly practical architecture is a tool for enhancing community engagement and inspiring an optimistic future.” - Style Weekly
This transformative project in the heart of Church Hill North, Richmond’s underserved community, brings together the Reynolds Community College Culinary School, workforce housing, community office space and destination restaurant. The 50,000 sf building takes the form of neighborhood-scaled wings turned toward each corner, shaping gardens for the community.
The design is guided by 5 aims: - Optimize multiple programs on the site for future−positive engagement; - Form a landmark optimistic presence on 25th Street and 9 Mile Road; - Shape Urban Green Space for School and Residents; - Position Culinary School programs to provide access to, and awareness of nutritious food; - Infuse all spaces with natural light, connect to natural landscape;
The School is organized around a social courtyard in a two-storey ‘U.’ The building creates the feeling of a big, inviting house rather than an ‘institution’. Sliding doors open up the interior to the courtyard, which has enabled school programs to continue during the pandemic.
The architecture’s transparency raises awareness of the healthy food programs and job opportunities within. Teaching kitchens are visible to passers-by. The Greenhouse, where students grow food, fronts the main street. The Market Cafe on the corner offers low-cost, student-prepared food.
Workforce housing sits above the east wing with generous light and views. The restaurant extends over the west wing toward downtown Richmond’s skyline.
Intentionally anti-slick, natural materials enhanced by weather are used: - Integrally colored, wood-formed red concrete resonates with brick context. - Timber curtainwalls and raw copper panels add warmth. - Transparent, etched and fritted glazing optimize views and control solar gain. - Oak ceilings and millwork, polished concrete floors and colored glass enliven the interior.
The building has no back: All sides engage the community with entrances.
“This isn’t just investing in business or in food but investing in community. There has been a need here in Church Hill for decades. I’m excited to see residents in Church Hill gain a true sense of community; a community that all comes together for nourishment, for growth, for development.” Curtis Lee, Community Development Coordinator