The Cowshed Collective is a group of young architecture graduates: Michael Hayes, Samuel Kane,
James Kennedy, Scott Morton and Albert Tobin.
The collective is formed through a shared interest in an architecture that responds to the ordinary.
An idea that a redefinition of programme might expand a building's potential for use with the
The brief is for a small milking parlour: room for a cow and her calves, with a hayloft overhead.
Enclosing inside and out, the structure gives the farm a yard.
Added to this is an infrastructure: a roof designed for the purpose of gathering and channelling, to
store and provide a source of rainwater. More than a shelter, the cowshed collects.
A project placed in collaboration with the Commonage Summer School, the design began with a
concern for adaptability, material properties and the process of construction itself. Building took
place over a two and half week period with participants from a a variety of backgrounds.
The separation of structure between floors responds to the limitations of time. A timber frame rises
to support the 1st floor and roof as, in tandem, an independent brick wall is added layer by layer.
Multiple trades may coincide and participants free to rotate between jobs.
Components sized to a human scale involve all participants, regardless of experience. Materials
which may be cut, sawn, drilled, nailed or stacked by hand generate a process. Through the method
of making the nature of objects and their construction is revealed.
The cowshed makes use of the available; salvaged brick builds a perforated screen on the ground
floor, former telegraph poles behave as the load-bearing columns, and sheets of plywood from
a temporary pavilion form external cladding. The act of reshaping and restructuring an existing
resource engages the ignored or overlooked.
Location: Callan, Kilkenny, Ireland
My Role: Designer, Site Manager and Leader of building workshop
Additional Credits: Commonage Callan, Camp Hill Callan, Albert Tobin, Samuel Kane, Scott Morton, Michael Hayes, Commonage Callan Summer School 2012