The Oatmeal Factory by JSPA Design: from privacy to monumentality
Their latest project is at The Oatmeal Factory in Shanxi, ChineseJSPA Design uses traditional materials, i.e. brick and concrete, to create an impressive array of open-air public gardens and terraces. Ranging from the proportionally intimate to the monumental, these spaces engage the senses by opening the building to an ever-changing abundance of natural light.
‘The mostly automated production process required two production lines with high-volume machinery and shops, cafes and office space and public spaces. The environment of the project was of poor quality, with newly built industrial buildings, dry land and coal mines. It seemed interesting to develop the factory as an introverted building that would recreate its natural environment. In addition to meeting all functional requirements, we thought that the project was a structure that would stimulate the human senses and provide an incredible experience for the visitor.‘ The studio writes.
all images courtesy of JSPA Design
a dynamic system of brick walls
JSPA Design (see more Here) expressed his vision by using a brick wall system to surround and hide the various technical spaces of The Oatmeal Factory to create an opaque ground floor. The team also installed a simple concrete volume above ground level from which public spaces emerge. ‘Verandas and extensive gardens will pierce the entire building to provide natural light while creating impressive spatial expansions within the factory. Central production areas will also receive natural light from the concrete sheds and the roof will be opened to northern light.,’ continues to the studio.
Brick walls begin in front of the factory, a landscape area left voluntarily open for communal use, with benches and pools for children to play. The brick pattern slowly expands from the benches into the fence of the property, and then, the facade of the entire building.
The shape the brick walls take will create and define the different entrances to the factory: raw material delivery, product loading, staff and visitor entry. The paths of the staff and visitors who take different paths never cross within the factory. Visitors will have a planned spatial experience, while employees will enjoy a functional organization. At one point the production line is displayed to guests in an elevated corridor overlooking the workshop. Meanwhile, the employees’ dormitory sits at the back of the factory as an ‘invisible architecture’.
The brick fence was thickened to house the building, and verandas were created to bring light into the rooms without disturbing their intimate setting. Finally, the space between the factory and the dormitory opens onto a garden furnished with concrete tables and square armchairs.
creating spatial connections through basic materials
The choice of construction materials in this project has a strong meaning. Indeed, using gray brick is a way of establishing a deep relationship with the space using local construction methods. Gross concrete, on the other hand, emphasizes the modernity of the building and ensures that the building and architecture are a whole. Landscape design is also fully integrated into the process, and the rainwater collected on the roof is directed to water pools at different elevations through cast-in-situ concrete water exhausts, making the natural circulation of rainwater a part of the spatial experience. ‘The water flows up to the entrance of the factory, where the last waterfall meets the twelve-meter cantilever concrete logo wall and invites the visitor to enter the architecture.,’ Completed the JSPA Design.