Cornell University Stocking Hall

Merit Award 2015

What do you do with a blank wall in a dairy plant? You cover it in cow spots, of course. And hide a few cow faces in among the spots!

“Have some fun” was the advice Calori & Vanden-Eynden (New York) gave college administrators at Cornell University when they added a new dairy plant to an existing lab building.

In addition, the world-famous Cornell Dairy Bar was moving to the new building and needed a memorable icon to identify its new home. Dairy = milk = milk bottle = Dairy Bar. What could be more logical?

The cow spots also laid claim to the atrium lobby and wound their way up a staircase to an observation deck overlooking the Willy Wonka-esque dairy machinery. The milk bottle has become the photo-op location for the new building and the cow spots make for a playful—and fun—dairy plant interior.

Jury Comments: 

“Rorschach meets rawhide in this fun, playful, and moving use of negative space. The simple floating cow patterns are unexpectedly complex and delightful.”

“Using the element of cow spots could have led to a too-obvious design. But the way the designers represented this element in the three-dimensional space is what gives strength to this idea. The project is exceptionally executed, an example of how a design can be elegant and playful at the same time."

Design Firm: 

Calori & Vanden-Eynden


Cornell University, Mitchell Giurgola Architects

Location City: 


Project Area: 

200,000 sq. ft.

Open Date: 


Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

Jon Reis Photography

Design Team: 

David Vanden-Eynden (principal in charge, art director); Chris Calori (advisory principal); Kisuh Chung, Marissa Dessanti, Stephanie Zigomalas (designers)




Geograph Industries

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