This article is part of gb&d‘s Green Typologies series, Farm to Class.


Location Whitby, Ontario
Site 29 acres
Size 36,000 ft²
Completed 2013
Cost $12 million
Architect Gow Hastings Architects
Client Durham College
Contractor Garritano Brothers
Mechanical Consultants MCW Consultants
Electrical Consultants DEI and Associates
Structural Consultants Stephenson Engineering

Whitby, Ontario — As an educational institution, Durham College, founded in 1967 in Oshawa, Ontario, has recently become even more of an active participant in its community with the creation of the new Durham College Centre for Food (CFF). The college plans all its programs with advisory committee input, and these committees saw the benefit of creating a culinary school that represents field-to-fork efforts. “We have about a thousand people a year that sit down with our academics,” college president Don Lovisa says, “and these people link us to the industries that match our programs to help students get jobs and ensure that our programs are relevant and current.”

The new $12 million, 36,000-square-foot building, designed by Gow Hastings Architects, is located on nearly 30 acres of farmland in nearby Whitby and scheduled to open in September. The building, built to LEED Silver standards, externally and internally merges with the surrounding landscape because of its glass walls, green roof, two-story living wall, and open, organic floor plan that naturally connects all aspects of the building program for its 900 new users who will study horticulture, hospitality, and the culinary arts.

The star of the program is the Green Restaurant Association-certified teaching restaurant, which is open to the public, with meals prepared from food grown on-site. “To describe the CFF, we use the phrase ‘living lab,’” Lovisa says. “We produce a learning environment that is identical to what you’d see in the industry. It’s hands-on, it’s applied, and when the students leave, they’re ready.”

The CFF allows Durham College to implement new programs in agriculture, culinary management, and hospitality, and by using food grown on-site, with a dash of honey harvested from the rooftop apiaries, the CFF simply makes good practical and academic sense. In other words, reaching outside the insular facility enhances the quality of the food and the education.

This article is part of gb&d‘s Green Typologies series, which in each issue explores a single type of building. For more of our most recent collection, Farm to Class, choose from the list below: