|Year(s) Listed: • 2014 • 2022
|City/Town: • Topeka
|Location Class: • Government
|Built: 1954 | Abandoned: 2021
|Historic Designation: • National Register of Historic Places (January 20, 2022)
|Status: • Demolished
|Contributor: Plains Modern and Abandoned Atlas Foundation
Kansas State Office Building, renamed Docking State Office Building in 1987, is one of the first examples of Modern Movement architecture effectively applied to a public building in Kansas. It was also one of the earliest buildings in the region to utilize an aluminum and glass curtain wall. The building clearly expresses the ideals and trends that shaped mid-twentieth-century architecture and influenced public and private office building construction throughout the country.
When the building opened in 1957, was 95 percent occupied, housing 2,600 state employees from agencies such as the State Board of Health, the State Architect, and the State Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education. There was also a post office, a secure vault, and a concession stand in the building. In the basement, there were meeting rooms as well as a cafeteria with seating for 500. A tunnel connected the building to the State Capitol. Notably, for the period, the tunnel could also serve as a bomb shelter.
Few changes have been made to the building since it opened. Governor John Carlin renamed it the Docking State Office Building to honor former governor Robert B. Docking. It has served as a state office building for 65 years.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 20, 2022, in April Governor Laura Kelly issued a final order to demolish the building to replace it with a new state office building. Demolition is scheduled to begin January 1, 2023, though nonprofit Plains Modern filed for judicial review of the decision. The case is pending in Shawnee County district court.