work in progress on the topic of mass, on the basis of an architectural design for a fungi growing facility, Bika Rebek, Studio Lynn 2009

Thursday, January 21, 2010

FUNgiCULTURE is a mushroom growing facility located in the east of France. The architectural ambition is to redefine the relationship between mass and void by means of a contemporary surface language.

The site is located on the countryside, close to the "Les Salines Royales", a salt processing plant. Visitors and workers get to this area mostly by car; they can drive directly onto the site and park underneath the building. For pedestrians a ramp is leading from the street to the outdoor space. The architecture is perceived as an object in the landscape. There is a clear distinction between outside and inside, but the outdoor room creates a different kind of transitional space from the exterior of the object to the interior. In summer it becomes a market place and a meeting spot for the local community. From there visitors already catch glimpses of the central production area before they enter the artificial architectural space.

There are two distinct spatial qualities on the inside; on the one hand the open, colorful space for visitors and workers and on the other hand the cavernous rooms where the fungi are grown.The growing rooms rest on the ground emphasizing their weight, while the inhabited areas are elevated allowing for views and creating the sheltered outdoor space underneath. The exterior is connected to the central inhabitable space through deep cuts that reveal the depth of the massive architecture.

The visitor zone is colored bright red, creating a vivid atmosphere for a cafe and a small shop. The yellow area in the middle is for production and packaging of the harvested mushrooms. Deep openings formed by cuts radically frame the surrounding landscape. In the back the hues turn blue to create a calm environment for research and administration offices. The colors blend into each other, emphasizing the blurred programmatic transitions. The poche spaces contain one main growing room and two smaller ones for testing and experimentation, smaller cavities are used as restrooms and staff changing rooms.

Construction has been tested in a big physical mode - a steel grid holds a thin concrete shell. The interior is covered with polished and painted concrete forms. All the surfaces are developable, resulting in an the extremely simplified formwork.

By reexamining the classic architectural themes of mass to void and interior to exterior relationships, FUNgiCULTURE creates a new kind of atmospheric industrial architecture.

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