One World Café construction to continue through fall semester

Construction expected to impact inside traffic of Knox, Capen and Norton Halls


After two years of planning, construction for the One World Café began on May 20. 

The roughly $20 million project is expected to be completed by August 2021. UB hired CannonDesign, a Buffalo-based design firm, to handle construction for the over 50,000-square-foot cafe. The cafe will be between Capen Hall and Norton Hall on North Campus, which could impact students' travel between the buildings starting in the fall. Graham Hammill, vice provost for educational affairs and dean of the graduate school, said construction will be a “large” and “marginalizing” process, as it will affect a large part of North Campus. 

Once completed, One World Café will feature at least five international food stations and will seat over 500 people. 

“The international cafe will provide more food service areas, space for informal studying and promote UB’s mission as an international university,” Hammill said.

Peter McCarthy, a CannonDesign architect, said the cafe is a complex initiative and one of the university’s goals is to re-engage unutilized spaces. 

Construction will not take place during the day to prevent traffic. There will be both evening and overnight construction crews doing most of the heavy lifting and crane operations after 3 p.m.

Construction workers created a border surrounding the site for pedestrians' safe navigation. McCarthy said there will be a slight bend to navigate around Bonner Hall on the north side, but walkways outside of the construction site will be largely unchanged.   

“The outside border for the limit on the construction activity will allow construction vehicles and material movement to take place, but also provide a safe border for pedestrians to navigate around the area,” McCarthy said.

This will not be the case for indoor walkways surrounding the site.

The construction crew will close entrances to Capen Hall and Norton Hall under the arcade and the entrance to Norton Hall from the plaza side. The crew will also remove the elevator and staircase in Knox Hall, but will eventually replace it as the project goes on. 

CannonDesign kept elevators open on the north and south sides of Capen and Norton to allow pedestrians to bypass construction, but they will no longer have direct access from the ground floor of Norton into Capen.

“There was really no way for us to safely allow pedestrians to cross [Capen to or from Norton] during the construction time period, so we isolated that,” McCarthy said.

The corridor on the second floor between the buildings will also be cut off.

McCarthy said CannonDesign is taking on parts of the project one at a time to minimize disturbances on campus. All fire exits will remain open and unblocked for the duration of construction.

Alexandra Moyen is the assistant news editor and can be reached at


Jacklyn Walters is a senior communication major and The Spectrum's managing editor. She enjoys bringing up politics at the dinner table and seeing dogs on campus. 


Alexandra Moyen is the editor in chief of The Spectrum.