The International Grains Program needed a conference center to promote and expand its widely recognized, modern agricultural research, finance, trade and economics education programs. Jointly supported and facilitated by the university’s Department of Grain Science Industry, the facility needed to support the latest advances in electronic communications. In keeping with CAPACITY150COST PER SQ FT$187.00FEATURED IN2005 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSpecialized facility’s mission to educate foreign dignitaries and scientists, the goal was ”to reflect the corporate image commonly recognized and expected in the world business/trade community.” As the first building to be constructed for the grain science and industry’s campus master plan, the design had to take the lead to establish the campus architectural vocabulary.
The building was the first on an agricultural site in the Midwest used for agricultural education and business development; conceptually, the design reflects the use of native materials, vernacular, space organization and wayfinding.
The site is open agricultural land adjacent to the university campus edge. To the north is privately owned agricultural property, cultivated and non-cultivated; to the south are pen areas used by the university for intramural and athletic facilities, the main campus and the community. Kanza Prairie grasslands, Flint Hills, native limestone, agriculture and assorted vernacular of rural Kansas make up the materials and images of the native landscape.