Dairy Farmers of America opened its new headquarters in Kansas City, Kansas.
The 110,000-sq.-ft. space creates a highly flexible, amenity-rich workplace for the country’s largest milk marketing cooperative.
Excerpted from the Kansas City Business Journal:
“The building really became inspired by the story of DFA,” said Eric Linebarger, HOK’s lead designer for the DFA headquarters project. “This is a farmer-owned cooperative and represents and honors the farmer. (DFA) wanted every aspect of this building to pay respect to that kind of agrarian farm roots.”
For its new headquarters DFA wanted a collaborative work space and one that would be considered a workplace of choice for employees.
“They were so self-aware of what they wanted to become. Really what was limiting them from getting there was their current office space,” said Linebarger, who works in HOK’s Kansas City office.
While the previous headquarters had 175 private offices, the new building has 10. Instead the space features a number of conference rooms and meeting spaces to engage employees and allow for more innovative thinking. It’s the flexibility of being able to work anywhere at anytime within the building, he said. At DFA’s request, HOK held multiple forums with DFA employees to get their input on what they wanted in a space. And they really wanted to celebrate food, Linebarger said of the employees. It inspired HOK to pitch a milk bar, where employees can help themselves to a variety of milk flavors all day long.
DFA tasked HOK with the challenge of designing a space that could still be relevant in 40 years, Linebarger said. With typical office interiors, a company is leasing the space and might move every ten years. But DFA’s ownership of the building and focus on longevity created a very different conversation, he said.