Requiring deep shade, the seedling cocoa tree relies on a canopy of larger trees for protection and coverage. As The Kallari Association provides shelter and protection for its organic cocoa producers and Amazon artists, we know this new facility will help to foster growth in the families it serves and allow them to thrive for years to come.
Understanding the importance of “shelter” and “canopy” to the cocoa tree and The Kallari Association, this design unifies all building elements under a single gridded roof canopy structure. This not only unites the programmed elements, but also serves as a means to provide protection for the gathering spaces below. The roof canopy is supported by abstracted Trees, which provide natural light, ventilation, and a means to collect rainwater for use within and around the facility. Solar panels and shading modules are located within the grid work of this roof as well. The higher elevation of the roof canopy also provides a good means for Internet connectivity to the complex via Wi-Max.
Arriving from the road, community members, tourist, and workers are greeted by an “exterior” gallery that gives the flavor of the country, of Kallari, and of the nature of the complex. Entering through two main passageways visitors come upon a large exterior Gathering Space that is nestled between the Tourist-Community Center and the Factory. This multifunctional area can be used as a community gathering location, a market for the Kallari handicraft workers, an outdoor café, and an extension to the auditorium. In this space, filtered sunlight comes through the canopy and gives this outdoor room a sense of protection.
The Tourist-Community Center is accessible via the Gathering Space. Many operable walls provide means to open the interior of the building to the exterior, thus providing greater opportunities for using the spaces in many ways. Inside the building the generous corridors double as gallery space. Located at the northern end of the building the Kallari Administration offices link into the community library and computer training area, thus allowing them to watch over and provide security as the community utilizes the center.
Located opposite of the Tourist-Community Center, an observation area has been created to allow for visitors to watch the process of making cocoa in the Factory. Utilizing the sites slope to its best advantage, the factory floor itself is located on a level below this. The residence area has been attached at this lower level to provide for added privacy from the public. Outside of this residence area, a greenhouse area is indicated, which not only provides support for the factory, residents, and café, but also gives another level of screening from the public. This lower level is connected by a stair and supply ramp to the road above.
On the opposite end of the project site, a path has been designed that will lead down to the river. This path will wind through botanical gardens, and end up on a deck that overlooks the river, providing a natural location for picnics and relaxation.
Connecting to The Center from various points throughout the region, the satellite connection hubs (Mobile Hubs) will provide a transportable means of Internet connectivity for many who cannot travel to The Center itself. The Mobile Hubs open from a secure/collapsed position and allow users to enter and use the computers for research, information, and connection. Solar panels will provide power for the computers, and wireless broadband will provide connectivity to the Internet. Louvered sides allow for proper ventilation and protection for the equipment. Once collapsed these trailers will be able to be pulled to various villages and rural areas.
Creating an economically viable and efficient design, while also providing a powerful architectural statement that will draw tourist into The Center, the design incorporates sustainable design in numerous ways. Beginning with site placement, the utilization of the natural slope to the site, we have divided the building elements into public at the street level, leading down the slope to private areas. Where required, vegetation will provide the remainder of the necessary separation. This arrangement also allows for a greater volume of space within the factory, allowing the heat to rise and flow out through louvers at the upper level. The main building construction will be of bamboo and locally available renewable/recycled wood. Local labor will understand this technology of building, so specialists will not be required to travel in from out of country. Glazing will also be used to provide for natural sunlight in all inhabited spaces. In addition, the Trees also serve to provide natural light, as well as a means to collect rainwater. Finally, the roof canopy structure provides not only sun-filtering, but solar collection as well, the location of the solar panels is quite secure after they have been placed. The facility will mainly be powered by solar energy, with battery back up. Being highly adaptable was another focus on the design of the buildings. Many of the spaces can be opened up into other spaces and this provides maximum flexibility of use. It is hoped that the Kallari association can use these adaptable spaces to provide additional income to the organization. Above all this, it is hoped that this complex will serve the surrounding communities, allowing them to connect to a global marketplace, champion sustainable building and agricultural practices, and protect this growing coalition.