We have settled in our little lake house, by the foot of the hills in the west of Sumatra in the Kerinci area, Jambi Province. Rarely visited by tourists with pockets of little villages and bustling cities a strong group of nine architects and students stands out in the community. We have already had plenty of late night discussions on the practicalities of structural joints, contours and space. Countless models, white board sketches and site visits. We have engrossed ourselves in the task we were here to do. Designing and building Training Centre for cinnamon production.
The site is nestled within the thick woodland by a road connecting it to the rest of Sumatra; it provides not only rich earth, but also a spectacular view of the Kerinci Lake. The site measures nearly 8000m2. The site is scattered with several assorted trees of exotic quality, durian, langsat, mangosteen, banana and orange. There is of course, just behind the site a thick forest of cinnamon being harvested.
The land will become a link for the people of Jambi and eventually Indonesia. This will hopefully encourage better harvesting, cleaner and higher quality cinnamon. The research and development centre will be a platform for new outreaching ideas to be generated in to finalized products, which then later could to be sold within the cinnamon industry.
Introducing The Client – Cassia Co-op
Cassia co-op was started in 2010 and is Europe’s first Cassia (cinnamon) co-operative. It´s vision is to be the bridge for the cassia farmers and the end users, a marketing channel for the farmers and a direct link to the source for end users. The strength of Cassia co-op lies in it´s core value of the end product that believes in being organic, Fairtrade and in accordance with the Rainforest Alliance, as well as being a direct connection to the farmers and the local people.
Patrick – Co-founder of Cassia Co-op and a spice connoisseur, who has specialized in the spice industry for decades. He has the passion and relentless perseverance to achieve the goal of ultimately bringing a revolutionary step forward to how cinnamon is manufactured and packaged. This is organic at it’s best.
Patrick’s hope to design and build a cinnamon factory that was not only a first steppingstone to be the only factory in the world to produce high quality cinnamon with an ethical stamp but as well as having a pioneering building design has always been a life pursuit. After discovering TYINs projects at an architectural exhibition in France, Patrick chose to visit Trondheim to present his vision. With good support and sponsoring from the Norwegian architect office LINK Arkitektur the plans became reality and flights to Sumatra were booked.
The original brief was to build and design a cinnamon factory that accommodated for 40 tonnes of cinnamon at the different stages of production whilst also being innovative with the techniques and design. During the initial studies in the area it became obvious that the site was ill suited for the proposed program. In agreement with Patrick, the brief was divided into two separate projects. The production facility was taken out of the program for now and set up closer to the next city, Sungai Penuh, where the existing infrastructure and cinnamon market is already established.
As part of Cassia Co-ops social program we are involved to design and build the Cassia Co-op Training Center. This will become an area where the farmers and local community can learn about sustainable farming and get insight in the business of cinnamon outside the Kerinci area. The site will contain learning spaces for research and development as well as a visiting centre for invited customers and guests. In addition to the educational part of the program, the brief includes office spaces, a small dining area, a prayer room for the permanent staff and a woodshop for production of a line of Cassia Co-op merchandise made from the wood of the cinnamon tree.