With a charge that includes educating agriculture professionals and the public about everything from mitigating the impact of drought to enhancing food security, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension campuses that have a presence in every Texas county serve primarily rural populations. Alone among the AgriLife locations, the Dallas campus focuses on urban agriculture issues such as stormwater management, turfgrass science and urban gardening.
But until the design of the new 58,000-square-foot AgriLife Research Center, the Dallas campus has lacked a showpiece building for agricultural research. The facility features labs and offices rivaling those of the top private crop-science research facilities, helping attract and retain top talent, as well as architectural attributes that reinforce and illustrate AgriLife's purpose to the wider community.
Within the research center, the open-plan design interspersed with collaborative spaces and quiet rooms, and an eye-catching break area/social hub within the glassed prow of the building on the second floor meet the expectations of the next generation of students and researchers. On the building's opposite end, a rooftop greenhouse is a GMO-capable space outfitted with chambers featuring separate air-handling units so that different research goals can be met in adjacent spaces – and is a beacon to the surrounding community.
The building was positioned on the campus to reinforce wayfinding and identity, while organizing the site. The thousands of annual visitors to the campus will see in the elevated greenhouse, the two-story-tall stormwater cistern, extensive solar shading and the surrounding interactive gardens visible symbols of the extension's mission and vision.
The research center's architecturally significant presence benefits the center's brand and identity, while enabling scientific advances that protect the environment and help improve the lives of Texas residents.
Flad Architects (planning, programming, design architect) with VAI Architects (architect of record)