“The Steaks Are High” : how can architecture promote an intense grazing system that will define an educational farming facility that can bring forth a new and highly sustainable culture of beef farming?
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Citation:Tregidga, S. (2014). “The Steaks Are High” : how can architecture promote an intense grazing system that will define an educational farming facility that can bring forth a new and highly sustainable culture of beef farming? An unpublished research project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional), Unitec Institute of Technology.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/3100
This research shows the design of an intensive, multi-storied beef production facility that competes with the output rate of the current, American based, Feedlot Model. This Feedlot initiative of the late 19th century was intended to reduce the cost of beef by eliminating the cowboy driven herds of stock from the southern states of America north to Chicago by introducing a corn-based feed regime. The repercussions of corn feeding have subsequently been discovered to be very detrimental to the short term health of cattle, to the long term health of beef consumers, and health of the prairie ecosystem of the American mid-west. This research limits its focus to a future reality, where it is hypothesised that expanding corn crop acreage is no longer possible, while the increasing world population continues to demand beef. A tower configuration (attempting to rival feedlot production concentrations) stacks feeding platforms vertically. The platforms initially assumed the grass/ruminant symbiosis as the model of healthy alternative intensification of beef production. However, while attempting to incorporate stacked rotational grazing, it was discovered that the growth rate and density of ryegrass was unable to sustain the concentration of animals needed to justify the capital investment of a vertical beef ‘farm.’ A compromise was made and rotational grazing was then replaced with a hydroponic fodder production process. The fodder is generated by growing barley in a much shorter growth cycle than rye grass. This dramatically reduces both the scale of the tower and increases the tonnage of beef produced. The project demonstrates how architecture can facilitate an intensive beef production operation (from breeding, to slaughter) within a dramatically reduced footprint, this allows the operation to be introduced into the urban environment, thus, bringing beef production to the people. The dramatic visual appearance of these farming towers in the metropolitan landscape should raise the consumer awareness of the origins and implications of their food.