North Dakota has always been a place where the agriculture industry, and specifically cattle ranching, plays a major role in our economy, history, and culture. As a leader in agricultural research and education, NDSU continues to make bold moves that keep them at the leading edge of animal science, this time with the design and construction of the NDSU Beef Research Facility with JLG.
This innovative facility is one of only three in North America that has the capabilities to control the characteristics of feed mixes and monitor the dietary and developmental cattle results in real-time as the animals grow. The implications of this research are far-reaching as the data that is collected and analyzed in the field trials of this facility will inform students, faculty, producers, and the market – sharing expertise in the most efficient way to raise cattle, bring their product to the market, and ultimately, to tables around the world. While the design of this facility may not fit the mold of modern architecture, it is the historical context and the honest expression of its functions that give this facility its impactful design. Between the large, sweeping rooflines, the repetitive structural elements, and the exposed technology and processes, NDSU’s Research Center creates an aesthetic that fits within the current agricultural vernacular of our region.
JLG designed the facility to be part of an overall complex of buildings that relate to the farms and ranches of North Dakota, welcoming visitors through a “courtyard” area between the feed building and the research facility. An entry porch and skylight above the entrance hall provide the warm glow of light that is familiar to many of us, a glow that resonates from porches, barn windows, and out-buildings throughout our region.