computational studio
cornell university | spring 2021 | 1.5 months
instructors:  leslie lok + martin miller 

in collaboration with: lily jantarachota​​​​​​​
Our project aims to create a central hub for the Philadelphia community to learn about urban farming techniques and strategies, and how to implement these in their own homes. The library is not just a repository of books, but a hub for knowledge. Community members can learn about urban farming techniques at the learning center.

Our building concept is a closed loop system of energy. The first loop revolves around the system of the vertical farm, where excrement from local chicken farms is transferred to our aquaponic fish pond. The excrement from the fish then fertilizes the vertical farm. The fresh produce grown in the farms is served to the community through the restaurant. The library program ties into this closed loop system through connection with the community. Additionally, grey water from the library is filtered back through the vertical farm, which is further reused in the fish ponds. The solar panels power the library, as well as the aquaponics and hydroponics in the building.

The formal system of the library was derived from initial manipulation of the forms of our two precedent studies, the Tianjin Binhai Library and the King’s College Chapel. This also informed a computational strategy for our carrel design, which is employed throughout our building as seating. This system was also further developed to negotiate the boundaries between the plant program and the library program. The varying porosity of the system allows for moments of distinct boundary between the two, or the blurring of the boundary.​​​​​
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