Andrew Mitchell MTI Precsion Ag

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Project: Mitchell Technical Insitute (MIT) Precision Agriculture Demonstration Facility Mitchell, South Dakota Firm: MSH Architects Principal in Charge: Robin Miller Project Design Architect: Andrew Mitchell Team Architect: Bill Bentzinger Cost Estimator: Randy Grunnick MSH Architects was retained by Mitchell Technical Institute (MTI) to execute a quick design ‘’charrette “ for a precision agriculture facility in three weeks (plus) that could be used for promotional and fund raising purposes. The Institute had identified a location for the prospective facility and developed a basic program for it. The major components were:    

Dirt Demonstration Area (100’x200’) Precision Agriculture/lab Area (100’x200’) Presentation/Lecture Commons Area

It is the intent to drive full size agricultural equipment into the three areas intended for instruction. To this end the program required large overhead doors into the instruction area with commensurately high ceilings. This created a ‘bulk’ that would provide strong, if not too strong presence on campus. The challenge was to manage the visual mass so that the scale is in keeping with most other buildings on campus. The client developed a schematic floorplan that provided a basis of design and from which the program was culled. The layout was extremely long and linear. Nearly 500 feet. The fit on the site was somewhat awkward. The massing of such a long building was overwhelming and function at ends were very distant.

Andrew E. Mitchell, Architect


(Siteplan and plan above) Initial concept: Hand drawn sketch is a refinement of owner submitted scheme. (Above left) Looking into Presentation/Lecture area from outside: Clients wished to maximize visibility of interior to interstate. Orientation of building and this specific space was done so to that end. Single leaf overhead door was to be fully glazed to allow full view of the interior. (Below left) Precision Ag area. Note Lab Area along wall.

Andrew E. Mitchell, Architect


(Plan/Siteplan above) One of the schemes presented but not selected. Functions better than a rigidly straight layout. (Above left) Common area looking in. (Below left) Commons area looking out. High gallery with twin colonnade flanked by lounge area on one side and lunch table seating on the other.

Andrew E. Mitchell, Architect


The project designer explored a number of plans and site configurations addressing these issues. Most schemes involved folding the two wings towards each other at varying angles. In less than a week concepts were developed and presented to the owner. MTI chose layout w/wings at 90 degrees ‘snugged in’ as close as possible. This scheme had a number of advantages. Footprint was more compact, parking areas centrally nested in the area bounded by the wings and accessed centrally by each major component, break up long ’soviet’ nature of the linear scheme, creates a stronger sense of place., shortened travel distance between wings. (via exterior) Alternate concept of 90 degree layout not selected because not quite compact enough. Client preferred scheme that allowed for direct interior communication between wings and presentation room by large equipment.

Andrew E. Mitchell, Architect


Project: New Denver Police Stations 1 & 3 1.) Initial Concept: Simple peaked roofs at Precision Ag and Dirt Demonstration Areas. Presentation area and commons bisected by Roof ridgeline. With this plan configuration it simplifies the roof wall intersection as the roof ‘naturally’ slope down along the wall. 2.) Shed Concept: Simple, modern 3.) Multiple Slope w/ hip @ ends: large and tall doors were required to accommodate the oversize ag equipment necessitated high walls along with a high roof peak.due to the need for a hundred foot span. To break this up the scale of the roof multiple slope roof echoing the profile of a classic barn was used to this end. Hipping the ends to reduce the scale of the walls and pull out classic barn profile. 4.) Near final design: Overall more integrated with roof of wings merged/mitered over Presentation area. Also the exterior sloping wall of the commons area did not ha ve enough ‘bulk’ in relation to the wings. The top of the walls were leveled with roof sloping to ridge. The commons has columns flanking the major The lobby has pairs of columns flanking the major circulation spine that runs the lgnth of the commons. Bi-Fold exterior overhead doors were swapped for single swing overheard doors. This allowed for further reduction of wall height by three feet.

The design intent for the large overhead doors is best expressed in the elevation sketch is mostly solid with two glazing bands. One would be band at eye height to provide a view out. All doors except the one at the presentation area would be such. The exterior overhead door there was to be all glazed as indicated in the model. This is so that individuals could gwet a glimps of what was going on within.

Andrew E. Mitchell, Architect


Andrew E. Mitchell, Architect


Andrew E. Mitchell, Architect