Technische Universiteit Eindhoven
A better life and death for livestock
My final-year project seeks to address the issue of how to combine the different stages of an agricultural production chain within a single architectural object. It also addresses the future of farming, as well as suggesting how we might find a solution to its current problems.
No other country has been ploughed and cultivated so often as the Netherlands. There are fertile claylands for growing potatoes, onions and beetroots. There is grassland for livestock, perfect climate regulation for tomatoes and paprikas and super-efficient intensive farming combined with a talent for transportation and logistics. Two-thirds of our country consists of farmland. Small farms have ceded to agricultural land rigorously organized for a maximum yield. We have to find another way. Should we opt for bigger still? Or should we revert to small-scale farming? Or are new technologies the answer?
In my quest for an answer, I examined the state of farming today and discovered a surprising and refreshing combination of emotions. The impact made by advances in technology is considerable. Dairy farming and animal husbandry are become increasingly automated. Milking, feeding, stall cleaning and manure removal have been computerized and are now done by robots. Rural land is getting to look a lot like urban land. The farmer has become ‘a flex worker operating on a laptop from any possible location’ (Koolhaas, 2014). This doesn’t mean that it’s wrong, it’s just ironic that such drastic transformations scarcely figure in our education and our thinking. The picture that has emerged is one of contradictions. A hodgepodge of ideals, policy, production, culture, ethics and emotions led me to design RED MEAT, a building typology where livestock, produce, public, animal lovers and farmers meet in a state-of-the-art agriculture. RED MEAT is essentially a summing-up of what has to happen in Europe to get a choice cut onto the dining table, from conception through production to consumption. What are the chances of realizing a project like this? The figures tally, however, and keeping in mind that the inhabitants of planet earth will be faced with a massive food shortage by 2050, we really must do something about the problems presented by the production of food.
RED MEAT has been designed to function as an important link in society. Not just a reflection of our present-day consumption, RED MEAT gives the public a glimpse of what we can expect in the future.