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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of AECCafe.com, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

An Office for Hodgdon Powder Company by El Dorado Architects

 
February 6th, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal

El Dorado Architects designed ‘An Office for Hodgdon Powder Company’ in Herington, Kansas. They used Vectorworks and FormZ for CAD systems and project management software.

An Office for Hodgdon Powder Company

An Office for Hodgdon Powder Company

  • Architect: El dorado Architects
  • Location: Herington, KS
  • Completion Date (Month and Year): September, 2007
  • Gross square footage: 8,500
  • Total construction cost: $1,050,000
  • Owner: Hodgdon Powder Company
  • Principal in Charge: Josh Shelton
  • Project Architect: Sean Slattery, AIA, LEED AP
  • Furniture Design and Fabrication: Brady Neely
  • Engineer(s): Structural: Genesis Structures
  • Metal Building Engineering: Steelmaster USA
  • MEP: Lankford and Associates
  • Landscape: el dorado inc
  • Lighting: Derek Porter Studio
  • General contractor: Kelley Construction Company
  • Photographer: Mike Sinclair, all photos.
  • Renderer(s) and credit as they should appear: el dorado inc, all drawings
  • CAD system, project management, or other software used: Vectorworks, FormZ

PROJECT DESCRIPTION
When the CEO of a gunpowder manufacturing plant from Central Kansas asked a el dorado inc to consider designing an office facility for its plant employees, principal Josh Shelton was initially surprised. Before receiving that phone call, el dorado had little overlap with the gunpowder industry. During initial conversations, however, the CEO stated “we have been building buildings out there for powder for the last 15 years. I want to build something for people this time. Something innovative.” el dorado inc took the job and never looked back.

Hodgdon Powder is located in the heart of the Flint Hills, an ancient rolling prairie landscape known for its subtle ecosystem of indigenous grasses and wildflowers. An adjacent rural airport, abundant with simple, elegant shed structures and wind gages, provides a rich, vernacular site context. The airport was once a military air base, used for servicing bombers during WW2. Amongst the rolling grass hills of the prairie, overall site has a distinct muscular presence.

The program for the new 8500 SF office was in part responsive to the hazardous nature of gunpowder manufacturing. Employees needed a changing facility with plumbing specifically designed to process lead residue from work clothing. Many employees smoke cigarettes, and a designated smoking area was required which was clearly separated from the manufacturing plant. Additionally, a dining hall large enough for all 50 employees was necessary. The CEO, impressed with research he had recently undertaken about open-office environments, asked el dorado inc to create a combination of private offices and open workstations which would promote a sense of teamwork amongst employees.

Rather than to design a singular structure, El dorado proposed a series Quonset Hut structures, all connected by an overhead canopy. Intimate courtyard spaces were developed as an integral part of the design, allowing the opportunity for outdoor dining, as well as creating a strong connection to the surrounding subtlety of the landscape. Additionally, these exterior spaces serve to buffer and organize varying aspects of the design program.

Due to the remote location of the office facility, the architects ultimately conceived the Hodgdon “campus” as a community center of sorts, capable of hosting casual BBQ’s, employee birthday parties, and family-related events. At night, careful attention to lighting allows the sequence of indoor and outdoor spaces to remain animated and in tact.

El dorado also designed and fabricated all office furniture for the facility, including custom outdoor and indoor dining tables.

The project was completed for a modest $130 per square foot.

The building site

The building site

The building site is located within the Flint Hills of Central Kansas, a rolling terrain of indigenous prairie grasses and wildflowers. The building is a small office complex serving the employees of a gunpowder manufacturing plant. The plant is directly adjacent to a rural airport, which was once a military air base used for servicing WW2 bombers.

A wind gage and a crop duster

A wind gage and a crop duster

Elegant, utilitarian structures are common in the Flint Hills. A wind gage and a crop duster shed, located within the neighboring airport, are perfect examples.

East Side & West Side

East Side & West Side

Informed by this rural vernacular, and guided by a tight budget (only $130 per square foot, including interior build-out), the architect proposed that a series of Quonset huts serve the function for a relatively simple office program.

Floor Plan

Floor Plan

The program required administrative offices, open workstations for supervisors, conference areas, a dining hall for 50 employees, and changing and laundry areas for plant workers. The program is divided amongst three equally-sized huts. Intimate courtyard space, containing drop-seed prairie grasses and pin oaks, provides outdoor dining and a designated smoking area. A simple, cedar fence completes the small “complex,” creating a material connection to the newly planted cedar tree windscreen just west of the fence system.

Elevations

Elevations

Elevations present the simplicity of a self-spanning corrugated structural skin system. The end walls are sheathed in cedar slats, an indigenous wood species abundant throughout Kansas.

Canopy connector & dining hall

Canopy connector & dining hall

The outdoor space is organized by a central canopy “spine,” which connects each hut to one another and encourages the use of outdoor space.

North Side

North Side

The canopy spine terminates to the north at the employee and public parking lot, providing a sheltered approach at human scale.

Changing room & Workstation Center

Changing room & Workstation Center

White corrugated ceiling panels are easily applied to the interior arch. The floors are a combination of durable carpet tile and exposed concrete with a clear epoxy finish. Colors provide spatial and programmatic definition.

Dining Hall

Dining Hall

The dining hall, used heavily over the lunch hour, also serves as a meeting hall for all-inclusive plant meetings. Exposed ductwork throughout the office huts provide concealed up-lighting, allowing ambient illumination strategies to capitalize on the building’s unique transverse section.

Coutyard Details

Coutyard Details

Though intimate courtyard spaces are “contained” within the office facility, their quiet presence and indigenous landscaping hold a strong connection to the surrounding landscape.

South Entry

South Entry

Warm cedar at the south entry punctuates a continuous south elevation of cool, galvanized corrugated arches. This entry, used primarily by plant workers and job supervisors, connects the office facility to the manufacturing plant.

View of outdoor dining area at night

View of outdoor dining area at night

The Hodgdon Office facility

The Hodgdon Office facility

The Hodgdon Office facility unapologetically situates contemporary architecture amongst agricultural sheds and fairground pavilions, privileging indoor space and outdoor space equally. Due to the remote location of the office facility, the architects ultimately conceived the structure as a community center of sorts, capable of hosting casual BBQ’s, employee birthday parties, and family-related events.

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Categories: Offices, Vectorworks

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