IKM was commissioned to design the new Penn State Food Science Building to allow the University’s College of Agricultural Sciences to remain current with researchers in the food science departments in the Big Ten Conference and the Northeast. Food Science programs include research, teaching, and outreach activities. The disciplines of primary importance are chemistry, microbiology, engineering, and nutrition. This unique building combines manufacturing, retail sales, academic teaching, and research under a single roof.
The goal of the project was to provide new facilities for pilot-scale food processing and manufacturing; food safety research programs; a microbial food safety pilot area; a commercial scale creamery processing milk, ice cream, and cultured products; laboratories; and a campus retail sales room with outdoor alumni café-style courtyards.
IKM’s design had to ensure high visibility for the Creamery Processing/Manufacturing area and the Pilot Plants while also providing specific attention to flexibility of usage related to technology and equipment. The building is designed to encourage collaboration among faculty members and students encompassing the location and design space for faculty offices, laboratories, informal meetings, and joint-use research.
The location, visibility, and accessibility of the Creamery is critical to the financial viability of this auxiliary enterprise. However, the area’s design needed to ensure full integration with academic programs so that it continues to function as an academic support unit. Alumni and current students revere the University Creamery and, consequently, it generates much goodwill.