PROJECT University of Maryland College Park, Yahentamitsi Dining Hall
ARCHITECT Ayers Saint Gross:Alice Brooks, Tim Smiroldo, Jasmine Shah, Silvia Hasty, Lindsay Story, Angi Kwak
GENERAL CONTRACTOR Holder Construction Company
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Adam Ravestein - Ayers Saint Gross
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER Hope Furrer Associates
CIVIL ENGINEER Site Resources, Inc.
MECHANICAL ENGINEER Newcomb & Boyd
ELECTRICAL ENGINEER Newcomb & Boyd
PHOTOGRAPHER/RENDERER Keith Isaacs
LOCATION College Park, Maryland, US
PROJECT COMPLETION DATE 9/1/2022
Yahentamitsi Dining Hall, together with two new residence halls, creates the new Heritage Community. The design and programming of Yahentamitsi optimizes physical and mental health and improves student success inside and outside the classroom. The focus of the dining facility – the first built on campus since 1965 – is the holistic nourishment of thousands of daily users, while reducing landfill waste and achieving high sustainability standards.
Maryland’s new dining facility makes a high level of cuisine available to all users and drastically increases the total food service capacity for the entire campus, which is the 10th largest public food service program in the country.
The high performance of the building and the food service function is only part of the story. The name Yahentamitsi translates to “a place to go to eat” in the Algonquian language of the Piscataway Nation. The designer and the University engaged significantly with Elders from the Piscataway Tribe as well as a current Piscataway Student, the Administrative Director for the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs, and the Coordinator for Multiracial & Native American Indian/Indigenous Student Involvement.
Working with this group, the team designed graphics to highlight and center Indigenous wisdom and the Piscataway peoples’ desire to express and reclaim their history and culture. The building incorporates information about the Seven Grandfathers, as well as about traditional native crops and gathering cycles. Several murals throughout Yahentamitsi were painted by Piscataway artists, and stand out in full color. Downstairs in the building is a timeline highlighting the long history of the Piscataway Tribe, as well as images of traditional crafts including ceramics and Wampum belts. These designs have influenced the University community in significant ways. Native food options are available in the dining hall and this has opened new fields of study and educational opportunities.
Combining a well-designed dining space and menu with comfortable accommodations, proximity to a variety of academic spaces, deeply resonant environmental storytelling, and the close integration of University Honors faculty, Yahentamitsi signifies a bold new era of student-centered excellence in facilities at the University.
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University of Maryland College Park, Yahentamitsi Dining Hall
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