2023 Design Awards: Precision Agriculture Center by EAPC

Awarded 2023 AIASD Merit Award
Content and photos provided by EAPC Architects Engineers

Innovative Agriculture Meets Modern Architecture at SDSU
Exploring the Raven Precision Agriculture Center’s Award-Winning Design and Sustainability Features

The architectural design of one of the newest buildings on the South Dakota State University (SDSU) campus recently received a Merit Award from the South Dakota chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). This recognition, which underscores the innovative approach of EAPC Architects Engineers (EAPC), was officially announced at the AIA South Dakota’s annual conference in September.

Spanning approximately 130,000 SF, the Raven Precision Agriculture Center is a convergence point for SDSU’s Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture, and Plant Science. It is an epitome of modern functionality, boasting expansive wet laboratories, industrial research spaces, and unique features like a dynamometer bay and a quarter-scale tractor lab. The facility also includes comprehensive classroom and office spaces to facilitate learning and administration.

The project, with a budget of $46.2 million, opened in fall 2021, backed by contributions from South Dakota stakeholders, industry partners, and legislators. While the initial design phase began in 2015, the journey to bring this project to life started much earlier.

The center’s architectural design exemplifies the integration of natural light and public engagement. With ample transparency throughout, it provides a unique perspective on the scientific activities inside, promoting public inquiry and resonating with the philosophy of precision agriculture.

SDSU’s expertise in precision agriculture, characterized by the use of advanced technologies like drones and GPS-equipped tractors, is embodied in the Raven Precision Agriculture Center. The facility is a nucleus for education and research in this progressive field, signifying the university’s commitment to developing sustainable agricultural methods in response to contemporary environmental challenges.

The building’s environmentally friendly efforts earned it a LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council earlier this year.

The center is a product of the enduring collaboration between EAPC and SDSU, marking yet another successful joint endeavor. It is strategically designed to encourage interdepartmental collaboration, in line with SDSU’s emphasis on interdisciplinary agricultural research and education. This focus on collaborative innovation is a defining feature of the facility.

In addition to its functional attributes, the facility’s design adeptly marries practicality with contemporary architectural trends. Its energy-efficient, transparent structure creates an inviting atmosphere for students, researchers, and visitors, embodying the dynamic and evolving field of agricultural science.

Photo by Jordan Powers (www.jordanpowers.com)

The Raven Precision Agriculture Center is a beacon of practical innovation and a testament to the advancement of sustainable agriculture. Its fusion of functional design and modern aesthetics sets a new standard for educational and research facilities. As a hub for learning and exploration, it plays a crucial role in shaping the future of agriculture and education in this field. The center stands as a significant milestone in sustainable agricultural practices, making an impact both locally and on a global scale.

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