University Students bring teacher an Apple!   Leave a comment

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University Students bring teacher an Apple!

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 How do you design a University Conference Center that also accepts fork lifts!  This was the unique challenge solved by Dennis Kowal Architects at Rutgers Fruit Research and Extension Center.  The Cream Ridge Agricultural Center is composed of labs, barns, fruit orchards, cold storage and teachers and students who basically study apples for shelf life, taste, insect resistance and productivity.

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Dennis Kowal Architects converted a leaky equipment storage barn into a state-of-the-art conference center but the same facility had a few more requirements.  For example, a couple times a year, the Agricultural conference center hosts a farming event where farm equipment and some of the orchard harvests are on display and Rutgers wanted the Conference Room walls to open to the out of doors for a “flow through” experience.   Also, the Conference Center contained labs and cold storage for the fruit specimens picked from the orchards by the crate-load and the floors needed to handle fork lift traffic while still meeting   the sophisticated sound requirements for lectures and meetings.

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A symposium room for up to fifty people exists in the same space as the labs and cold storage.   The flexible space must serve as Lecture Hall, Exhibit Space, and Museum. The Conference Center also is an Agricultural Museum, often displaying farm equipment which is brought in through the overhead doors.  Dennis Kowal Architects used a floating wood grid ceiling to allow the overhead doors to disappear above the grid, creating the open-air feeling on fair days while maintaining the decorum of a museum on other days.

The same area before the major renovations consisted of exposed, un- insulated construction, farming supplies and otherwise wasted space.

The Research Center studies small fruits, including apples, peaches, apricots, nectarines, brambles, strawberries, and ornamental nursery crops. The center increases production efficiency and protects fruit crops against environmental and biological hazards, while decreasing production costs and pesticide use. As a result of their research and development, some fruit storage can last all winter.

The amount of lay-in ceiling was minimized to reduce exposure to humidity when the barn doors are opened and the conference center becomes a fairgrounds!

Reclaimed barn beams and wood were used for the door lintels and door frames to link the new facility to its heritage.

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Dennis Kowal Architects designs for higher education and supports students through internships.

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Unrelated advertisement below;  Please leave a comment about this blog in the comment box below the advertisement or click on more stories from the category list at the upper left top of this blog.

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