Northern Kentucky University / Norse Commons Dining


Location: Highland Heights, Kentucky

Scope: Full Architectural Services

Size: 8,200 SF Renovation

Cincinnati Design Award: IIDA & ASID, Built Work Merit

Today’s University Student demands choice and flexibility with their dining experiences. At Northern Kentucky University, the Norse Commons Renovation addresses these demands, transforming what felt like a high school cafeteria into a contemporary dining hall for a university with a maturing brand.

Causal, interactive, quiet and communal dining experiences are defined through sensual and experiential changes. Lighting, acoustics and volume transform between spaces. Diverse seating options add variety. A shift to presentation style cooking suggests freshness to students who dine at the Commons as much as four times a day, seven days a week. Prior to the renovation, spaces were segregated, circulation was confusing and daylight was secondary.

With clearly defined moves the design solution addressed these issues, while still meeting the limitations of a small budget and construction schedule restricted to the summer.