A building with a timber grid-clad
Developed by CLOU Architects, Sanya Farm Lab is a 4,000 square meter, four-story exhibition space located in China’s Nanfan District of Sanya, the southernmost city on the tropical island of Hainan. The objective of the project is to combine the climatic characteristics of the city, integrate regional scientific and technological agricultural elements, and create a multifunctional research complex and commercial exhibition space.
Sanya’s Nanfan District is being transformed into a center for scientific research on tropical agriculture. The local government is investing in research on environmental changes, land and water scarcity, and food production issues, as well as the growing demand of middle-class Chinese to return to nature and tourism in rural areas. CLOU Architects’ realization of the Sanya Farm Lab is based on the presentation of modern organic farming and the improvement and evolution of lifestyles. It blurs the traditional boundaries between nature and city and reduces the distance between technology and life. The building integrates and covers high-tech exhibits such as agricultural robotics and indoor vertical farming. It offers a whole new “farm to table” experience. The goal of the design is to present advanced techniques to the public in real time, highlighting the advances agricultural technologies have made in lifestyle and education. And its key point is to blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor, maximizing communication and visitor interaction.
The architectural structure is developed in three stages: first, the construction of an outdoor public space with clear scale and rich staging by strategically combining the functional massing of the four levels. The second floor cantilever creates a semi-outdoor rain shelter for the first landing and a relaxing public platform for outdoor dining and children’s play for the third. Second, the outdoor common areas are connected by circulation. A spiral staircase and another huge multi-functional staircase to connect inside and outside increase the frequency of exits and allow for a complete connection. Third, the wooden roof grid structure – inspired by the traditional house of Hainan’s Li nationality, which is a modern performance of the long-established architectural context – reduces sunlight absorption by 70%. With a depth of 800 mm, it provides shelter for the outdoor platform, while ensuring natural ventilation and an open view.