2009 Merit Award, American Institute of Architects, Iowa Chapter
Deere and Company had plans to convert a small outside corner of one of their existing high bay factory areas into a two-story space to house a new visitor’s center and office space. Rather than remove the existing exterior skin to complete this conversion, the architects recommended a more sustainable approach: create a new envelope that wraps portions of the existing exterior to define and differentiate space on the interior, and unify perforations and projections in the shell. Because the building was also meant to feature the history of the company, materials were chosen that would represent the rich heritage of the farming industry; weathered steel thus became the choice for this new exterior cladding. This utilitarian material provides a familiar connection to visitors and farmers while being utilized in a non-traditional format.
Furthering the connection between interior and exterior, a nearly 40-foot high structural glass wall forms a giant picture window into the lobby space where the latest technology is featured. This essentially becomes the signage for the building as this life-sized billboard is viewed from the entrance drive. Upon closer approach to the building, field and crop striping is recalled in the paving and transitions to a deeply toned interior floor surface that is reminiscent of rich agricultural earth. Sustainability continues to be a high priority of all interior spaces with many material choices based on both renewable and agricultural products. The palette of a clean, white background was used to reference an art gallery that features the tractor as a sculptural object.