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    Big Ripples

    by Michael Cockram

    Magic in architecture often occurs when the client presents the architect with clear criteria and formidable challenges and when, rather than engineer around obstacles, the designer embraces the challenges as opportunities to enrich the project.

    Such was the case with the Heifer International Center, in Little Rock, Arkansas, designed by Polk Stanley Rowland Curzon Porter Architects. The result is a building that meets the client's needs with stellar design and an anticipated LEED-Gold rating.

    Project design manager Reese Rowland compares the project to ripples of water radiating out from a center. The concept of the "ripple effect" is central to Heifer's mission of bringing livestock to impoverished rural populations throughout the world. The program is structured so that if a cow or sheep is given to a family, they learn how to take care of it and pass on offspring and knowledge to other villagers. Thus, sustainable methods of husbandry ripple through the population.

    Using this concept as a starting point, the architects organized the site plan into concentric rings. Radiating outward from the "impact point" of the entrance commons are a pedestrian ring, the welcome center ring (phase 2), the wetland ring, the office building ring, and the vehicular traffic ring.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    The Heifer International Center, in Little Rock, Arkansas, by Polk Stanley Rowland Curzon Porter Architects.
    Photo: Polk Stanley Rowland Curzon Porter

    ArchWeek Image

    The south elevation is articulated with sun shades that also enhance interior daylight. Native cypress trees line the waterway, and reused brick punctuates the walkways.
    Photo: Polk Stanley Rowland Curzon Porter

     

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