Davis-Harrington Welcome Center at Missouri State University
General Commercial Space Winner
Seeking a striking entrance to campus, Missouri State University turned to Dake Wells Architecture for its Davis-Harrington Welcome Center. Designed by the firm’s Andrew Wells with the help of Bethany Henry, Mark Wheeler and Cara Collins and constructed by Wright Construction Services Inc., the sleek, 13,000-square-foot structure captivates visitors with dramatic lines, a flexible floor plan and thoughtful design details.
Winning designer: Andrew Wells, Dake Wells Architecture, 134 Park Central Square, Suite 300, Springfield; 417-831-9904; dake-wells.com
Project summary: Replete with floor-to-ceiling windows, a large meeting space, interactive displays and plenty of school pride, this stunning welcome center draws visitors into campus and provides a destination for events.
Judge’s comments: “This building gives a sense of hope and growth in the future. Great use of natural light and pattern detail—ensures progress in an energetic environment.”
Photos by: Gayle Babcock, Architectural Images LLC
Biz 417: First impressions are essential in college recruiting. How did that influence this project?
Andrew Wells: A lot, I would say. The whole goal was to provide a sort of physical and symbolic point of entry into the campus, the idea being that they would have a worthy place for greeting visitors, prospective students and parents and guests of the university.
Biz: The building contains references to MSU’s history. Can you describe them?
AW: A lot of people that have seen the building may recognize the perforated screen that’s on the west side that sort of extends out. That’s a gesture of welcome right at the entrance to campus and it identifies the main entry point into the building. That perforation pattern was developed by scanning a typical black-and-white composition book that’s used for essays. We scanned that pattern and then digitized it and translated it into this dot pattern of circles. So that provides a sun shade to cut down on solar heat gain from the west side, but it also has this reference back to the fact that it was originally a teacher’s college and it’s all about education. The other reference is the slate wall that leads you in, which is a reference back to the old chalkboards.
Biz: This building welcomes guests, houses offices and hosts events. Was it challenging to incorporate the multiple functions?
AW: I think that was one of the issues that we had to really think through. How do we design in enough specificity that it’s identified as a university building—not just a university building, but Missouri State’s building—while at the same time being open-ended and flexible for a variety of things that we couldn’t even imagine yet.
Builder: Wright Construction Services Inc.
Structural engineer: IMEG Corp. (formerly KJWW Engineering Consultants)
MEP engineer: IMEG Corp. (formerly KJWW Engineering Consultants)
Civil engineer: CJW Transportation Consultants LLC
Door, frames and hardware installer: Ron Miller
Tile: Crossville Inc.
Fire suppression system installer: Jayhawk Fire Sprinkler Co. Inc.
Plumbing and HVAC installer: Connelly Plumbing Co.
Electrician: A-1 Electric
Irrigation, turf and plants installer: A-1 Walls and Landscaping
Concrete masonry unit: Springfield Ready Mix, 417-862-9203
Cast-in-place concrete installer: Advanced Concrete Technology Inc.
Metal work (steel handrails, steel plate bear logo and dimensional letter signage) installer: CMPI
Rainscreen panel installer: Architectural Design Concepts
Aluminum glazing system: EFCO Corporation
Aluminum glazing system installer: Builders Glass & Products Inc.
Roofing: Carlisle SynTec Systems
Roofer: Summit Roofing LLC