Commonage is a community-based organization that provides a critical platform for art and architecture projects in the public realm. They recently commissioned a group of students known as The Cowshed Collective to design a cowshed for a cow and her calf on an existing farm in Ireland. This might not sound like a big deal, but the 17-day design and build summer workshop brought together recent architecture graduates from as far as Greece and Norway, and it promoted a collaborative and sustainable approach to creating an extension to the farm run by the Camphill Callan Community. The resulting rainwater-capturing building is made entirely out of reclaimed materials.
The Cowshed Collective design and build workshop was the third of three focused on creating new infrastructure for Callan, including a river walk and a seasonal bridge design led by LiD Architecture. Superfolk Design Studio also led a design for a system of public access gates. The Cowshed Collective sourced the majority of their materials, including brick, galvanized steel, timber and even pre-cut plywood panels, from the existing site.
The idea was to create a new home for a cow and her calf which is connected to the existing farm. Two pitched roofs collect and channel rainwater for the pair, while cutouts in the walls and metal roof ensure that plenty of natural light and air circulate through the space. “The participants and the workshop leaders worked side by side with local tradesmen, builders and specialists in the areas of lime rendering and green oak engineering to realise an ambitious build programme,” according to Commonage. Albeit less fancy than some of our projects, it’s rewarding to see young designers focused on working together to achieve genuinely sustainable projects that enhance quality of life.