Rural R&D Station

[AD1 2012]
How does a customer experience not only a company’s product, but also the company itself? How do we begin to formulate an architectural solution for the identity of a company? With this is mind, how do we design an experience?

The proposal is a hybrid building consisting of a ski lodge, office spaces, a wool production line, and a shearing shed which together make a R&D station for ICEBREAKER. The building is located at Pudding Hill in the Canterbury Plains at the bottom of Mount Hutt.

The driving concept for the building is based on a ‘weave’ – one of the operations used in creating a textile. Put simply, a weave brings two things together in a way that allows them to be seen as one, this is done with a warp going in one direction and a weft going in the other, together they create a weave.

The design of the architecture comes through the inherent nature of banding which is present in a woven fabric. There are four building types, each one is conceived as an individual ‘warp’ that is woven together spatially through visual thresholds and spatial orchestration. The relationships of each typology is arranged according to controlled linkages in programs. The shearing shed is placed next to wool production line for the flow of material production, the offices next to the wool production line for R&D to take place, and the ski lodge above the offices for people who wear woolly clothing to Mount Hutt Ski Field to get a glimpse of how their clothing is made. Not only does this arrangement allow us to break the barrier between research and development and material production but also allows customers and clients to experience the company.

Using architecture as a facilitator for bridging barriers between programmatic stratifications we can strengthen relationships between tactile conditional elements of ICE BREAKER, ranging from the farmers, the wool production workers, the office workers, and the customers / clients

Justin Baatjes, May 2012


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