Pavilion of Least Resistance

When a landscape operation of desire lines is used to generate a stereotomy onto a formal volume, a pavilion is formed and optimized for human and avian occupation. This produces an amalgamation of interstitial spaces, a landscape in itself, facilitating bird inhabitation and human voyeurism. Located between the Cornell campus and the arboretum, the Pavilion of Least Resistance must negotiate between a natural and built environment. The strategy became to reflect a prominent campus archetype — the quadrangle — to not only make circulatory connections but also to adopt a subconscious familiarity among the users. Mitchell theorized that quads were born from the human desire to take the path of least resistance, carving out "desire lines" into the campus landscape, eventually producing constructed pathways connecting points of interest. This begged the question, what would an architecture look like if the same logic was applied? The design of the pavilion began with a primitive cube to parallel the rectilinearity of the quadrangle. Experimental cuts at varying scales and apertures were achieved through predicting human paths and traffic volumes, as well as potential avian flight patterns. The stereotomy was then reformed to create a continuous network of spaces and sized for required programs. The result is a collection of coinhabitable spaces that birds can fly through, land, and roost while humans enjoy pathways and spaces with framed views of the landscape and campus beyond.