Fair Oaks Farms Winfield Crop Education Center
Fair Oaks, IN
With a mission of educating the public about modern farming while protecting the environment, Fair Oaks Farms – the largest agri-tourism destination and functioning dairy farm in the country – was ready to add a new facility to its campus. It wanted a space to give visitors the opportunity to see how contemporary agriculture works, and explain how crop farmers help feed the world.
In partnership with Land O’Lakes in Minnesota, Fair Oaks Farms invited design firms to participate in a design competition that called for plans and renderings within a tight schedule. Shive-Hattery’s 14,000-square-foot Crop Education Center design was selected for completion.
To let the interactive exhibits come to life, the building is designed to serve as a backdrop that speaks to its surroundings while encouraging visitors to engage with the information around them. Shive-Hattery created lots of open spaces with high angled ceilings, wide hallways, exposed ductwork, and natural lighting to accommodate the displays that would later be incorporated. Taking a cue from the surrounding landscape and the purpose of the facility, the interior showcases natural materials and colors, with design features that mimic shapes seen in crop farming, such as silos and greenhouses. A large theatre with curved walls and plenty of seating allows visitors to view videos and learn more about how crops are grown. A learning lab gives children the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities.
The new WinField Crop Education Center has helped Fair Oaks Farms expand the education it offers, and provide a place for students to ask questions and learn more about agriculture.