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Cornell University Teaching Dairy Barn

Erdy McHenry Architecture LLC

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Cornell University

125 Humphreys Service Building



Cornell University

Project Status


Year Completed



43,000 sq. feet

Construction Cost




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Project Description

When creating a new dairy barn for the College of Veterinary Medicine, the University requested a facility that would operate in the same manner as the traditional NY State dairy barns yet be used to instruct students on the functional, organizational and operational aspects of running a dairy facility. Additionally, the University envisioned this building as the face of the College of Veterinary Medicine and that it should exemplify the University’s commitment to quality architectural design and sustainability.

Early in the design process, Erdy McHenry led the design team in working with the University to establish the project goals which became instrumental in shaping the final award winning design solution.

• Optimize Cow Comfort
• Increase Herd Flow Efficiency
• Allow Natural Ventilation of Freestyle Barn
• Reduce Energy Consumption
• Provide Interactive Classroom / Learning Spaces

In order to provide design solutions that met or exceeded the project goals, the design proposed various solutions which work in harmony with site conditions and environmental considerations. To optimize cow comfort, the Freestall Barn was oriented to allow for maximum cross ventilation based on prevailing wind patterns. The Milking Center was incorporated at the end of the facility to maximize herd management while the classroom was placed on the second floor overlooking the milking parlor providing a firsthand view of the operations without compromising functionality.

The end design created a facility that is significant in the way that it addresses its primary programmatic concerns while establishing an architectural landmark that identifies the College of Veterinary Medicine all the while respecting its surroundings and reducing its impact on the environment.
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