UNL student architects look at museum for class project

Released on 12/05/2005, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2005

WHERE: Architecture Hall, 10th and R Streets

Lincoln, Neb., December 5th, 2005 —

Lincoln, Neb., Dec. 5, 2005 -- As a class exercise, fourth-year studio students at University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Architecture designed a new museum of agricultural technology and will show their project Dec. 7 at a final jury presentation.

The 15 students in Architecture 410 -- the architectural design studio class -- will present their work on ideas for a new Lester F. Larsen Tractor Museum. The jury is in Room 211 Architecture Hall, 10th and R streets on UNL city campus from 12:30 to 5 p.m.

The idea for using the tractor test museum for a class project came from architecture professor Chris Ford, who discovered the museum during an East Campus visit this fall, and approached the museum staff about letting his class work on ideas and designs.

Ford said special guests have been invited to the presentation and the public is welcome.

"Although this is a completely academic exercise, the student work could spark an interesting dialogue about the feasibility of a such a premier facility in the coming years," he said.

The museum is a unit of the University of Nebraska State Museum. The collection of tractors and early agricultural tools is housed in a building built in 1919. The Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory is known around the world as the leader in tractor testing and is the only one of its kind in the United States. The building housing the museum was declared a historic landmark by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers and dedicated as a museum in 1980.

The museum's director, Bill Splinter, said there is no plan at this time to replace the building but it will be interesting to see the students' ideas.

"We have no plans or formal ideas, so it's open territory," he said. "This is something that the College of Architecture does on a regular basis and they have previously worked with the State Museum, so we were excited to see their ideas."

As part of their research on the designs, Ford's class traveled to Moline, Ill., to tour the architecturally significant John Deere Headquarters built in 1964 and designed by Eero Saarinen, and the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, designed by British architect David Chipperfield and built in 2005.

Jurors for the class project Dec. 7 will be professionals who will critique the students' work on technical and behavioral aspects and provide review of the concepts.

CONTACTS: Chris Ford, Asst. Professor, Architecture, (402) 472-9233; and
Bill Splinter, Director, Lester F. Larsen Tractor Museum, (402) 472-8389