Cox Communications Distribution Center / el dorado

© Mike Sinclair

The site is a light industrial office park of conventional box buildings primarily from the 1960s and 1970s located in Topeka, Kansas.  Cox Communications Distribution Center is the first building within the park to be renovated, as the owner has decided to revamp the entire park over the next several years.  With a limited budget, the architects of were asked to create an innovative, yet simple tone for future development.

Follow the break for more photographs and drawings of the new Cox Communications Distribution Center.

Architects: el dorado inc.
Location: Topeka, Kansas,
Principal in Charge: Josh Shelton
Project Architect: Sean Slattery, AIA, LEEP AP
Custom Steel Fabrication: Doug Hurt
Structural Engineers: Genesis Structures
Metal Building Engineering: Steelmaster USA
MEP: Lankford and Associates
Landscaping: el dorado inc
Lighting: el dorado inc
General Contractor: Kelley Construction Company
Owner: Henderson Development, Inc.
Project Area: 9,200 sqf
Project Year: 2007
Rendererings: el dorado
Photographs: Mike Sinclair

© Mike Sinclair

From the architects:

When the owner of a Topeka-based contemporary furniture-sales company inherited an outdated light industrial and office park from his father, he set forth to update the park, one building at a time. His first opportunity was created by the park’s anchor tenant, Cox Communications. Due to increased sales in the greater Topeka area, Cox Communications required a new distribution center for their growing inventory. In order to remain within the parameters of renewed lease terms, the owner developed a budget constraint of $80 per square foot.


Many buildings surrounding the site are non-descript boxes. Determined to create a new architectural language for the property, the owner hired el dorado inc to design the warehouse. As a response to the budget constraints, el dorado inc immediately suggested to work with a pre-engineered metal building system. After careful research of the system’s constraints and capabilities, a design direction was proposed to meet the project’s program, consisting mainly of an 8,500 square foot open floor plate warehouse. The program also required an inventory check-out desk as well as a loading dock for incoming supplies.

© Mike Sinclair
wall sections

The project solution, composed of a striking, yet elegant structural bays, implements sustainable strategies which aide in holding energy demands to a minimum. A soaring cantilever completely shades the long, south metal wall system from the hot, Kansas summer sun. The generous overhang also provides a sheltered loading and unloading area for service vans.

light diagram
north elevation

A linear clerestory window allows indirect south light to flood the warehouse—the south shelving aisle does not require electric light during the day. Linear louvered vents along the base of the north and south facades activate a convection cooling system, allowing outside air to enter the warehouse at floor level, replacing the hot air exiting the building through large roof vents. Fully integrated fluorescent building lighting creates efficient expanses of indirect site illumination, eliminating the need for additional lighting parking lot pole-lights. Though small in area, the new distribution center for Cox Communications commands a large site presence through elegant proportions, crisp detailing, and smart energy conservation.

© Mike Sinclair

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Cox Communications Distribution Center / el dorado" 30 Dec 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • e55 Houston

    Pure and elegant. So, I ask you, current fashion trends aside, which building appeals to you more: this building or the “melted” Frank Gehry building which recently appeared on this blog? Which is more honest, more authentic? Which is more timeless? Which is less pretentious? Granted, they are different buildings serving different needs and purposes in different contexts, but for me, the answer to all of those questions is this little project in Topeka.

  • Pierre

    Totally agree…


    I prefer a Gehry to about 90% of everything that is being built right now

  • Sam Johnson

    I really like the lighting.

  • Jon Decker

    Wow! Very clean and elegant look. And I agree, fantastic lighting!