Staff Writer and Soil Enthusiast Henry Golub makes the case for converting Avery into a farm. Join the adventure of growth and shrubbery.

Before the car, we had the horse, and before the building, we had the farm. Get ready, folks, ’cause we’re about to go full Bronze Age.

Albania (with India for reference)

Many of us have seen Avery. Some of us have even gone inside. Fewer of us still have napped there. All of us, however, recognize that the building’s caloric output lags behind that of its competitors. Take Albania, for instance. The country’s astounding 500 billion calories produced per year (ignoring the crop yields of its Pacific territories) utterly dwarfs Avery’s zero calories. Albanians are quick to point out that their country owns infinite times more tractors than Avery because 120,000 tractors divided by zero tractors is undefined. For a building that prides itself as “housing” Columbia’s “architectural school,” these statistics are unacceptable.

You might argue that Avery is a building, not a farm—that we should hardly expect it to match even the protein in one cow, much less all of Albania’s. Such an excuse does not excuse poor performance. Ferris, another building, produced 800,000 trillion tons of thumbtacks last month. I read a story about a building in Phoenix that opened his own hatchery.

architecture schmarchitecture

Isn’t it funny how ideas just flow when you’re running on three hours of sleep?

Now, some may point out that architecture students need a place to learn. But do they really? Think about it.

Think harder.

Will we need architects after we flatten all buildings into farms? Did we need Blockbuster once we invented the polio vaccine? Did people still read Spec after Bwog came along? Anyone can see clearly that architecture will fall like chaff when my farm kingdom come.

I am sick of people telling me that we should leave Avery as is. Yes, it’s easy on the eye. Sure, it has only a minimal cockroach problem. And fine, I’ll grant that its doors are unnecessarily heavy. But why should we settle for such trifles! My parents raised me in the loam. I learned never to confuse columns with stalks or to take stairs for pears. I cut my teeth on fig trees. I’ve woken up six times in a pumpkin patch. Oh boy, Avery makes me want to overcook a steak.

O ye glorious Farm! / Husk and stalk / Heap and bale!

Imagine six rows of glorious corn right next to Schermerhorn! Grape vines—grafted near the International Affairs Building! A chicken coop; a barnyard stoop! We could have it all. A Fertile Box on the Hudson.

We can keep Avery’s basement intact. Just give me two feet of topsoil, and I’ll grow you a farm.


Albania and Another Country via Wikimedia Commons

Avery via Wikimedia Commons

Farm via Wikimedia Commons