BBS Architects Engineers

Iowa State University

Memorial Union Food Court
Memorial Union Food Court
Memorial Union Food Court
Memorial Union Food Court

Owner: Iowa State University (Dining Services)
Architectural and Engineering Design Services: BBS Architects | Engineers
Food Service Consultant: Bakergroup Food Service Consulting & Design
General Contractor: ASI Commercial Construction, Inc.
Construction Completed: August 2018
Construction Cost: $899,000

Photo Credit: Tim Bungert, BBS Architects | Engineers

Client Need:

ISU Dining Services had a vision of transforming an outdated food court on the first level of the Memorial Union into a fresh and healthy dining option for students and staff. The project focused on adding a full service salad bar featuring soups, salads & pastas. In addition, each of the existing food venues received new casework, food service equipment & digital menu boards.

BBS Approach:

BBS worked closely with representatives from ISU Dining Services and Facilities Planning and coordinated closely with our food service consultant to create an efficient flow that could better accommodate the large number of customers served by the food court each day. By carefully analyzing the queuing for the perimeter food venues and locations of beverage dispensing machines, our team was able to offer solution to resolve a number of existing congestion issues within the space. Moreover, a revised layout of the cashier stations improves circulation to and from the food court.


The salad bar now serves as a focal point that can easily be seen from the food court’s entry. Increased illumination levels provided by new LED fixtures help to create a welcoming space, while directional lighting helps draw customers’ attention to the many available food options. New architectural finishes including natural stacked stone, glazed subway wall tile & quartz counter tops add character to the space, in harmony with the client’s vision. Wood-look floor tile helps to increase slip resistance, while providing durability required for the food court’s heavy customer traffic. 

Plumbing, mechanical, electrical, and telecommunications services were updated and extended to support the new space and equipment. Because of the food court’s location in the building, these services were required to be routed through a number of tunnels in an unexcavated area of the basement below. Our engineers conducted rigorous site investigations during design development in order to prevent conflicts during construction. These steps were critical to maintain the client’s compressed construction schedule.

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