Rogers Krajnak Architects’ renovation of the Mid-Ohio Foodbank has received a national award from the Building Design+Construction magazine.  Each year the magazine recognizes the best reconstructed, renovated or remodeled projects based on the overall design, engineering, project quality and the collaboration of the Building Team.  The Mid-Ohio Foodbank project earned Platinum, the highest level of the award as part of the 27th Annual Reconstruction Awards.  Earlier this year, the project achieved LEED Gold certification from the U. S. Green Building Council under the LEED NC 2.2 rating system.  We thank Mid-Ohio Foodbank and the members of Project Team for their efforts on this project. 

The purpose of the food bank is to receive, sort and distribute food to 500 partner agencies in 20 Ohio counties that provide approximately 55,000 meals a day to hungry people. During the last fiscal year, the food bank accommodated 10,000 volunteers and over 1,500 meetings including volunteer groups, corporate workshops, training activities, conferences and events as they distributed over 38 million pounds of food.

Before Renovation After Renovation

The project is a renovation and conversion of the existing 190,000 sq. ft. former mattress factory facility into a state-of-the-art food bank whose functions include the receiving, sorting, storage, and distribution of food; volunteer group sorting and packing activities; the operation of a food pantry; administration; and educational and community outreach.  The existing building was a generic, mediocre, pre-engineered, box-like building fronted by a sea of asphalt among many similar pre-engineered buildings in an industrial zone of distribution and warehouse facilities.

Visitors begin to get a sense of the mission of the food bank when they enter the site by driving past the food garden at the main entrance.  Above the main entrance, a portion of the 500 ft long façade and roof was strategically removed to create a notch for the “garden room”, an outdoor gathering area adjacent to the mezzanine level administration areas, meeting rooms and staff break room.  Entering the main lobby, visitors are greeted at the reception area, a cylindrical form inspired by the shape and material of a food can and finished with curved corrugated metal panels.  The centralized two-story high lobby is designed to orient visitors to the spaces dedicated to volunteer/training (to the west), nutrition education and meeting “community” spaces (to the east), administration (in mezzanine above) and warehouse functions (to the north).

The two-story glass bay at the north end of the lobby offers a dramatic panorama of over 4,300 pallets of food in the dry goods racking area.  The 400 seat community room features advanced audio/visual technology and is supported by a fully equipped demonstration and commercial catering kitchen for the food bank’s nutrition education programs.  The administration areas are located in a light-filled mezzanine with perimeter offices that are designed with glass interior walls that allow natural light to extend into the central interior offices.  The visibility of the volunteer groups actively packing food and the views into the dry goods racking area from the lobby, community spaces and mezzanine offices are visual reminders of the mission of the food bank. 

Before Renovation After Renovation

The reconstruction of this building resulted in a healthy building whose reduced ecological impact benefits the environment globally, and whose reduced operating costs benefit the community locally, by enabling the Foodbank to direct more of its resources to feeding hungry families and individuals in the region.