Case IHRacine, WI
FROM THE PRA ARCHIVES OF UNBUILT WORK
In 2011 PRA was asked to participate in a design competition to design a museum and visitor’s center for Case IH in Racine, Wisconsin. Case is an internationally known manufacturer of agricultural equipment of all kinds and has been since Jerome Increase Case founded the Racine Threshing Machine Works in 1842, six years before Wisconsin became a State!
The building was to be located in the vacant area in front of the factory in Racine and would provide training facilities, a café, and an auditorium in addition to display areas for historic and current equipment and information. The building was to express the essence of the Case brand and become a destination for customers, school groups, and the general public.
The design team at PRA was immediately intrigued by the idea that the building should be a part of the earth, occupying a furrow dug between swaths of wheat, corn, and other local crops arranged in artful waves across the field. The training rooms would be located beneath a field of corn, while the museum would occupy a glass enclosed exhibit hall under a swooping plow-like roof.
Visitors to the building approach from the east, past the iconic “Old Abe” bald eagle that has represented Case since 1865 and toward the auditorium clad in Case IH Harvester Red #50. They would descend a curving ramp along a history wall before arriving in the sunlit hall, immediately struck by the awe-inspiring displays both inside and outside of the hall. The circular auditorium would be used for multi-media presentations as well as the unveiling of new equipment on its rotating stage. Behind the auditorium, visitors could reach a test track for tractor rides or test drive the tractor of their dreams.
Designing a building like this for such an iconic and historic brand inflamed a passion that drove us to win the competition. Although the project was never built, the admiration we gained for the company and the joy we shared designing the building will always be with us.