Museum at Prairiefire

Overland Park, Kansas

Role: Architect & Museum Planner for New Museum, Led team of Engineers and Museum Specialists

Client: Merrill Companies, LLC

Program: Changing exhibition gallery, children's discovery room, lobby, cafe, gift shop, function space, classrooms, exhibit support, and offices

Building Area: 41,000 sf

Status: Opened in Spring of 2014

LEED Siver anticipated

Description: The building concept is designed to reflect the imagery of the tallgrass prairie, including one of its most unique aspects: the prairie fire burns. The expansive lobby is enclosed by ‘lines of fire’, facetted vertical planes composed of tinted vision glazing, dichroic glass, and iridescent stainless steel panels, set in a composition invoking flames. The dichroic glass and iridescent stainless steel are color shifting depending on...


...the viewing, creating a vibrant animated glow of color around the building. The lobby connects two building wings set at angles in the site to create a plaza at the northeast entry side and protected terraces at the west park side. These wings are stone clad with contoured parapets evoking the softly curving sculpted hills of the prairie. The stratified stone forms a gradient, from darker ‘charred’ stone at the base, to near white stone at the parapet. The entry plaza and park side terraces are paved in dark stone and edged in dichroic illuminated with LED lighting to recall the singed ground and fire lines seen during the prairie burns.
Visitors enter a tall, colorful lobby space, accessible on two levels, with natural light streaming through the perimeter tinted and dichroic glass. From the lobby, visitors can explore the AMNH changing exhibits and the T-Rex exhibit located near the main entrance. They can wind their way from the north side of the lobby to the south side facing the wetlands, stopping at the Museum Gift Shop along the way, and ending at the Café, with park views. Across from the Store is the elevator and stair connecting to the second floor. Visitors arrive on a sculpted bridge connecting the two main building volumes. The bridge leads to the Discovery Room, which opens to a cantilevered stone balcony facing the park, providing a unique contained educational outdoor space for children. The opposite direction from the bridge leads to dividable Classrooms and restrooms, and access to the Administrative Offices. The Classrooms and Offices open to the east onto a green roof terrace, which can provide further opportunities for educational exhibits or programs.


Project pdf file

Museum Web Site