No one ever accused the poor Agriculture Building as being a Mizzou design icon. For its 50 year history, the bland and windowless building was derided as Sam’s Slab Lab, the Fortress and the Federal Reserve Bank.
The structure recently gained a little respect, aesthetically. A redesigned landscape was unveiled earlier this month perking up the building overshadowed by the MU Student Center and Brewer Field House.
The design was the work of a Plant Sciences student, Justus Lacewell, who in 2008 won a competition sponsored by Dean and Vice Chancellor Tom Payne and Pete Millier, director of MU Landscape Services. Nine students studying landscape design work competed to dress up the Ag Building.
The students approached the project just as any design landscaping company wanting the contract would. They surveyed the location to get a feel for how the area is used, evaluated design characteristics of the Ag Building and nearby structures and interviewed clients to determine their likes, dislikes and expectations. They also consulted with MU Campus Facilities to understand campus requirements. Of course, they created an accompanying budget for their project.
Each student presented their designs to a three-person evaluation panel of John Glenn, a MU landscape architect, Kristen Smarr, CAFNR communications director, and Plant Sciences assistant professor Mary Ann Gowdy.
The design was given to MU Landscape Services for implementation.
“The designs ranged from simple to elaborate,” Gowdy said. “Most of the designs had trees and bushes and many incorporated a patio or benches. Rollins and Hitt has become a major gateway to campus and the students want the area to be aesthetically inviting and a pleasant, green place to gather.”
Lacewell’s design features a large terraced area that transitions the building, virtually sitting on a small hill, to street level. The terrace also gives students a place to sit. A walkway connects the street side sidewalk with Conservation Hall at the School of Natural Resources.
The landscape renovation was implemented over the past year, and is designed to feature natural color all four seasons of the year.
Organizations and people who donated to the landscape renovation:
Atkins Building Services and Products
Joe and Janice Blackburn
Gary Bohn and Bohn’s Farm and Greenhouses, Inc.
Dave Brakhane and Pleasant View Landscaping
Chuck and Ina Rae Brazeale
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Dredy Crapo
Midwest Block and Brick, Inc.
Wayne Lovelace and Forrest Keeling Nursery
Greenleaf Nursery Company
Al and Linda Kennett
Phillip Kerr and family
Marc Linit and Sue Hollingsworth
Scott and Lisa McWilliams
Lowell D. Miller
Roger and Joyce Mitchell
Tom and Alice Payne
Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Rood and Pea Ridge Forest Tree Farms
Shirley A. Richardson
Allan & Marla Rohrbach
Tim and Toby Rost and Rost, Inc.
Mr. and Mrs. Hubert Loring Schilb
Bill Spradley and Trees Forests and Landscapes, Inc.
Mr. and Mrs. Bruce A. Wylie