The Open Dairy
Upper State New York is a major dairy region where milk production takes up half of total agricultural sales. As essential workers required to work on the frontline during COVID-19, immigrant dairy workers with limited access to healthcare are put at high risk for being exposed to unsafe workplaces and face difficulties in receiving vaccinations. Located at the commercial parking lot of the Hudson Valley shopping center facing shutdown in Kingston, the project’s phase one prefabricated pods serve the region as a COVID-19 vaccination station. Expanding into a demonstrative co-op dairy plant, the pods remain in place as a health clinic accompanying future shopping mall programs to support the community. The plant takes advantage of the forest and topography by building underground for the natural cooler subsoil temperature. Maintaining an open-air structure and inserting vegetated vertical tubes underground, the project utilizes passive cooling and maximizes ventilation. Simultaneously functioning as a public amenity, the dairy plant not only supports local dairy farmers in the supply chain, but also gives workers access to wellness programs alongside healthier workplaces.