First of all, how exciting! When I think of the Grand Farm from
an architectural perspective, I think about how this concept sources? Is there a sustainability component? What does it mean to be state-of-the art? How does it highlight the people that are creating things in a shop/lab format? How does it showcase this region as the leader in agricultural technology?
That being said, I also think about how farms are built and laid out historically and how they might be best laid out to be more than just the sheltering of machines. I see them being inspirational, interactive for people and machinery and the outdoors and a really great place for collaboration between business leaders and makers. I also think that we can be leaders in showcasing what “North Dakota” architecture can be: culturally sensitive, functional, effective, honest, not fussy, a positive impact on our heritage and a billboard for design and innovation.
On a personal level, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time growing up on my grandparent’s farm and that is ingrained in me forever as I know it is for a lot of people. Even though this might be a “high-tech and autonomous” kind of thing, this project should have a sense of some nostalgia to it and embrace the farm as a community gathering place as I know that has been its role for generations. I love the idea of intersecting farming, engineering, design, technology, sustainability and business in one place.
Lastly, one of my favorite things about North Dakota is that the people are grounded, yet supportive of those that are willing to be risk takers. There always seems to be someone starving to help an entrepreneur to succeed as a source of shared pride. Recently, I toured Körber (formerly Fargo Automation) with Kevin Bi ert and I walked out of there thinking to myself that I just saw the future. It was very wild and exciting. It’s a little piece of awesome happening right under my nose.
Like that great North Dakota business that started in North Dakota, this project is forward thinking, dynamic, exciting and it seems to me that some of this region’s greatest global innovations have been born of that. I see this as North Dakota’s calling card and an opportunity for everyone to act as stewards of this region’s next big idea. Isn’t it great that the Grand Farm can continue pushing “the farm” as this region’s greatest entrepreneurial e ort?!
– Chris Hawley, Principal Architect, Chris Hawley Architect + Construction and designer for Grand Farm