The morphology of space : a wind technology center for Montana
Ostlind, Jacob Kenneth
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There is often a logical relationship between what something does and how it is shaped. In biology this is known as morphology-the study of structure or form. The morphology of an organism is a product of environmental conditions and its interaction with that environment. The morphology of space, then, is the study of the relationship between the measurable forces acting on a space and its shape. It is an exploration of the poetic and pragmatic link between environment and design-a search for how a building can be cast by its shadow. The research, observations and images contained in these pages form the foundation for the design of a Wind Technology Center for Montana. Inspired in part by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Wind Technology Center near Boulder, Colorado, this facility will provide research services to private companies involved in Montana's current wind energy boom. Additionally, it will conduct grant-funded research into alternative uses of energy generated by wind-an especially relevant topic in Montana, considering our significant wind resources and our limited transmission infrastructure. The site for this project is in the Yellowstone River Valley northeast of Livingston, Montana, one of the windiest places in the state and possibly the nation. The project's program and design will express the forces present on the site (considered to include both the immediate site and Montana as a whole) through the development of system of analysis inspired by studies of morphology and facilitated by digital design techniques. Importantly, the building will also be an icon for wind energy in Montana and a flagship building for sustainability as our culture transitions to a more carbon neutral fuel economy. Located on a highly visible site along Interstate 90, it is positioned to become an architectural icon as well, a facility for exporting both technology and awareness.