DAIRY FARMERS OF AMERICA HEADQUARTERS | HOK
IIDA MID AMERICA DESIGN AWARDS | BEST OF SHOW / 2018
IIDA MID AMERICA DESIGN AWARDS | CORPORATE LARGE | GOLD / 2018
HOK | KANSAS CITY MISSOURI
DAIRY FARMERS OF AMERICA
BOB D. CAMPBELL & COMPANY
LANKFORD FENDLER + ASSOCIATES
KANSAS CITY KANSAS
The design of the new three-story headquarters for Dairy Farmers of America, the nation’s largest milk marketing cooperative, pays tribute to the 15,000 dairy farmer owners while communicating the organization’s global reach. The design team used every program element and design detail as an opportunity to tell DFA’s functional and cultural stories. The result is a nuanced, sophisticated brand interpretation that honors the farms where dairy products are produced and the family tables where they are served.
The agrarian-inspired building materials subtly reinforce the foundation on which the cooperative is built and their farming heritage.
The lobby welcomes visitors with a whimsical, two-story, 25-foot-tall milk pour. The glossy white pour is made from foam with an application of hardening high-gloss lacquer that organically pools onto the floor of the reception waiting area.
Material choices support the ethos of the organization, with farm-inspired natural fiber wool patterns, natural leathers that patina as they age and raw, hot-rolled blackened steel that reinforces the grittiness of the family farm, while smooth white walls, polished white tiles, and glass represent the products and modern business of the dairy cooperative.
All interior wood surfaces were sourced from a single barn in southern Missouri and preserved in its natural state, further communicate authenticity.
Suitability of the design to the project challenges:
The client's primary objective was to honor the family farm while celebrating the organizations' global reach, giving the growing company a space to welcome both farmers and executives.
• Locating a milk bar in the heart of the building highlights the product as the focus of DFA’s continued success. The team envisioned the milk bar as a space that would help employees celebrate the product and the hard work of the farmers. Locally-sourced milk is available on tap for visitors and staff.
DFA moved from a workplace with 176 closed offices to an open floor plan with 9 private offices. To promote collaboration, the workplace has more than 100 meeting rooms for a staff population of fewer than 500 people. Even the CEO’s office can be easily converted into a conference room. Individual workstations have storage wardrobes and height-adjustable desks.
Successful collaboration of interior design with the architecture:
The exterior features a Garapa wood rainscreen facade on the first floor, which hosts a variety of celebratory functions. The second and third floors, which house corporate functions, are wrapped in expansive curtain wall glass to reflect the company’s global reach.
Employee input on the design indicated that the creation of outdoor spaces should be a priority. The design reinforces DFA’s dependence on nature by blurring the lines between indoors and out. In the café, 50 feet of the exterior walls can open to the outdoor terrace. Outdoor conference rooms on the ground level can accommodate formal and informal meetings.
Reinforcing this indoor-outdoor connectivity are welcoming lobbies overlooking the terrace on the second and third floors. The team designed these lobbies, which are at the top of the stairs, as a modern interpretation of a family farm’s front porch, complete with contemporary rocking chairs.
The feature stair off the lobby features reclaimed wood treads in what resembles a glass and white container. The sides of the staircase transition from glossy white to clear, with a custom gradation on the glass creating a milky appearance that provides privacy. The stair base lands on poured-in-place concrete. This concrete base cascades into a café, multipurpose room and milk bar.
Benefits to the client:
The new office space provides the client an opportunity for a cultural and experiential shift to promote the business and attract new talent and members. Since opening, DFA has increased workforce growth projections and has grown by 18 percent.