Swaying Udders

  • Christopher Yi, M.Arch. 2020
  • Hometown

    Brooklyn, New York
  • Class

    ARCH 5116 Vertical Design Studio: Project Zero (or Less)
  • Instructor

    Caroline O'Donnell
    Timur Dogan

The proposal for the new Atkinson Center oscillates between the agricultural history of Cornell University and the goal of connecting cross-disciplines, through the objective of creating a more sustainable future. Set within the rural landscape, east of Cornell campus, the building aims to bridge traditional agricultural practices with contemporary methodologies of harvesting and producing renewable energy sources. Housing 200 dairy cows, the existing ‘Teaching Dairy Barn" at Cornell University, imposes questions for further investigation and conceptual exploration within the issues of renewable energy and the conventions of ‘methane collection’. If the production of methane is an immutable outcome, how can it become integrated as part of the building system, as a source for renewable energy? This emergent system recently initiated by Cornell University becomes a catalyst for the proposal of the new building.

‘Swaying Udders’ is formalized as a building system that hybridizes animal and human cohabitation, through ideologies of a closed-loop cycle. Methane is produced and converted from dry matter onsite; as the primary renewable energy source for the building’s programs (labs, offices, meeting rooms, cafeteria, library, and visitor’s center). Analogous to the shape of an ‘urn’, the doubly-curved form and funnels allow the building to be uniformly lit and passively ventilated; substantially lowering the energy demand for lighting and cooling. As an aggregated system, the building becomes a machine; converting methane to produce heat and electricity (which are then exhausted out from the funnels).

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