Nestled among trees in rural Cedarcreek, Missouri, the Ozarks Education Center was designed by Kansas City-based firm BNIM to embed Missouri State University student researchers within the forested upland.
“[The center] serves as a threshold to the outdoors,” said BNIM project manager Josh Harrold.
The 4,310-square-foot education center, which was completed in March, opens its interior spaces to their surroundings by making a contemporary twist on a vernacular form: the dogtrot porch. The center’s porch divides educational common areas on one side of the rectangular gabled building from residential spaces on the other, and operable barn doors protect the porch from inclement weather. Separate sleeping cabins to the side of the main building are tucked into the site’s slope.
“Historically, dogtrots were used to help provide a different microclimate,” said project architect April Trotter. “The geometry of the building speeds up the wind that goes through the dogtrot, easily making that space about 15 degrees cooler than outside in the summer.”