Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP

Viking Research Center

Starkville, Mississippi

2001 - 2003

The Viking Range Corporation is a small privately held company that manufactures and markets the finest high quality professional kitchen appliances for the home. The purpose of the proposed Research Center at Starkville is to consolidate engineering design and testing operations for product development and prototyping, as well as quality control monitoring of manufacturing production. Special public areas, both inside and out, will be used to display the Viking Product Line, promote it through occasional culinary presentations, and perhaps host occasional MSU related events and entertainment.

The site is a prominent corner of the Mississippi Research and Technology Park on a knoll overlooking the new Main Entrance to Mississippi State University.  It is bounded by Highway 82 to the south, Mississippi Blvd. (the Park Entrance Drive) Research Blvd. (the Park’s ‘loop’ road,) and a heavily wooded area forming the eastern border of the Park.

The strategy for the building’s configuration and placement is derived from both the physical constraints of a long thin site, and the views to and from it. Building development is concentrated in the upper center and eastern edge of the far property at the woods in order to maximize flexibility and open space on the site as a substantial natural buffer zone towards adjacent sites and roads.

The more populated and active spaces like office areas, gallery/ display, and a large conference room are simply organized in a linear building of mostly glass with a louvered sunscreen façade to take advantage of the light and views to the south, as well as present a simple elegant image to the University and highway below.

The much less populated but larger more enclosed Workshop is shifted as far from Research Blvd. as possible, to make it less imposing. The resulting “L” configuration yields a natural location for one simple row of parking with a collective walkway on a “processional” axis leading to the building entry and lobby beyond, with its magnificent view back to the MSU campus.

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