Located on a 28,000 acre research ranch near Corona, the center is dedicated to researching and teaching methods of sustainable ranching in a semi-arid climate. Kells + Craig has worked with NMSU to develop a master plan that will ultimately include a central “lodge” housing administrative and teaching facilities, a residence building for 40 students and researchers, and a laboratory building. In addition to serving NMSU’s educational mission, the buildings are designed to attract a diverse range of users for meetings and retreats. The buildings are dispersed on the site to minimize both the potential of fire damage, and the impact to the site.
The Phase I building’s informal design is intended to foster interaction among the students and researchers. A large multi-purpose room serves as a meeting and classroom, as well as a dining hall, while the adjacent covered porch serves as an outdoor teaching space. Other spaces within the building include a commercial kitchen, a combined research library and seminar room, and researcher work areas.