Students’ demonstration kitchen idea wins Italian design contest

Santa Chiara Study Center

A demonstration kitchen for showcasing Tuscan and American culinary cultures designed by Texas A&M study abroad students as a tourist attraction for Castiglion Fiorentino, won a design competition sponsored by the Italian city last fall.

The contest challenged students from the four schools represented at the Santa Chiara Study Center to design a structure that would help redevelop the city’s center.

The kitchen would provide space where “locals and tourists could take cooking classes led by chefs who combine the flavors of Tuscany with American and other world cuisines, providing a new type of dining experience,” said environmental design students Kaylan Betten, Abbe Emerson and Davis Eubanks in the Texas A&M team’s contest proposal. “The combination of cultures creates a new reason to come to Castiglion Fiorentino.”

Students placed their kitchen atop a three-story parking garage serving the center of the Tuscan town. A large common area adjacent to the kitchen offers a panoramic view of the city and surrounding hillsides.

The kitchen concept won best overall entry and best quality design among entries from the University of Texas, Texas Tech and Cal Poly 

“It was nice to be recognized for all of our hard work and I was really pleased with how our project turned out,” said Eubanks.

The students created the concept in a design studio at the study center led by Philip Tabb, professor of architecture and Paolo Bulletti, adjunct professor of architecture.

Betten and Emerson also blogged about their study abroad experiences.

The Santa Chiara Study Center is housed in a renovated 17th century convent in Castiglion Fiorentino. The architecture studios at Santa Chiara investigate Italian culture, art, history, and civilization. Field trips to historic sites in Italy are also part of the program.

posted February 17, 2014