Sheep on the Strips

Date: Fall, 2013

Class: Design 3 – Caryn Brause, UMass Amherst

Objective: Make use of an urban waste space through the use of animal husbandry.

Location: Hadley, MA

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The decision to use animals versus gas powered equipment for landscape maintenance is becoming a more relevant question as sustainability increasingly becomes one of the main driving forces behind a design. Sheep on the strips is a place for the functionality of sheep to be applied to a local area. The animals are used to maintain the buffer strips around the Hampshire and Mountain Farms Mall, and the products that the sheep make are processed and sold right back to the community. Sheep are one of the best animals for grazing, since they eat mostly grass and shrubs. In this natural cycle, the sheep take care of the land, and the land takes care of the sheep.

The structure is composed of a central hub with three connecting bridges branching off to different areas. To the east, is pedestrian access from the Hampshire mall bus stop. To the west is pedestrian and sheep access to the Mountain Farms Mall, and to the north is pedestrian and sheep access to the Trader Joe’s area.

The bridges serve as circulation paths for the sheep to travel between buffer strips in order to maintain them, and to provide a safer alternative to crossing South Maple Street when moving between the two malls. The main public space is a central hallway on the second floor with classrooms and gallery space off to one side with a sheep viewing area on the other. The sheep inhabit the ground floor, with various other rooms dedicated to milking, shearing, and compost. Three caretakers work at the sheep center, and live on the mostly private third floor.

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