Another Design Experiment . November 5, 2015
Site Analysis for The Kansas Project
Perhaps the most obvious weather-related sensory experience that can be enhanced through strategic design is the visual one. For that reason it makes for a good place to start in the process of site selection for The Kansas Project. With this in mind, we visited the site last month and roughly selected a building site that we feel offers ideal views and exposures. It is located in the rolling meadows at the northwest corner of the property, close enough to Dog Creek Road for access, but far enough to achieve a feeling of remoteness and complete privacy.
This building site has tremendous views in all directions. To the west and southwest, which is the quadrant of approach for severe storms and tornadoes according to their modal path direction in the region, views are breathtakingly long and unobstructed. Views to the south, southeast and east are not as long but are equally captivating, featuring the red buttes and mesas that define the Gyp Hills. Views to the northeast are again long and unobstructed, while those to the north are shorter and of rolling hills and meadows.
On April 8, 2015, a severe weather event unfolded in South Central Kansas, with a violent thunderstorm developing near the triple point of a vigorous storm system. It travelled to the northeast, producing one tornado approximately twenty-five miles southwest of the property, and a second tornado within a few miles of the property to the southwest. The Kansas Project site would have provided a stunning vantage point for the second tornado which was the larger of the two. And, given the long prairie vistas, the site may even have offered distant views to the first tornado on the horizon.
This event was a timely validation of the location chosen for The Kansas Project, and a testament to the importance of understanding and creating weather-centric viewing opportunities.