A museum to inspire and educate the young and old about the Flint Hills of Kansas
The Flint Hills Discover Center’s mission is to celebrate, explore and care for the local tallgrass prairie. The center was designed and constructed to meet the need for a community venue to attract local residents along with visitors from across the country by capturing the essence of the Flint Hills of Kansas. It is a center for both children and adults to discover the elements that create the beauty of the Flint Hills.
The obvious choice for the main building material was natural limestone quarried from the museum’s home state of Kansas. The vision of the building was to reflect the geological strata and utilize natural limestone in the natural layered formation. To accomplish this task, 4 quarries and over 30 production styles were utilized to bring the layered design to fruition and cladding the entire exterior with natural limestone.
A challenge faced in construction was how to install the stone into the glass design. Trapezoidal-shaped windows and a central circular glass-walled lobby required both the design team and the stone masonry team to collaboratively brainstorm how the installation would work. Non-standard angles and much hand-crafted finishing of the limestone by skilled installers helped create the seamless transitions from stone to glass.
The split face limestone also seamlessly transitions from exterior to interior, giving visitors a real feeling of being close to nature as they enjoy the view of the actual Flint Hills through the glass.