Fotografia © Zilling Wang
Fotografia © Zilling Wang
Fotografia © Zilling Wang
Fotografia © Zilling Wang
Visualització © DnA Design

Tofu Factory

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Songyang , China
Economic Cooperation Limited of Caizhai Village

Caizhai Village is a traditional mountain village built along Shicang River over the past two hundred years. The village has always been known for its best tofu production in the county region. But the products from the traditional family workshops could not fit into current food certificate standards to be able to sell in supermarkets.

A new factory is programmed on a linear slope following the river by the village entrance, as a village collective economic entity and to upgrade the traditional tofu production.

The building volume is spreading along the slope by six production functions: preparation room, grinding compartment, boiling compartment, deep-frying compartment, drying compartment, and tasting hall. All the production spaces are designed and equipped to upgrade traditional tofu products fitting with food certificate requirements. This will allow the tofu products to sell in city supermarkets and to increase the village economic revenue.

A covered walkway inviting visitors takes the steps up to observe the traditional tofu making process in sequence, and finally arrive at the tasting hall facing an open plaza to the south and the historical village fabric across the river. This walkway and the tasting hall can be open up to public like a pavilion, shared by both visitors and villagers.

The building requires a simple maintenance operation. It is energy saving by adopting natural lighting, natural ventilation, rainwater collection system and effective sewage treatment, promising a moderate, economical lifestyle while maintaining regional cultural characteristics at the same time.

Prefabricated assembly timber structure system is applied to the building as the environmental friendly material to this modern production factory, as well as creating a dialogue with the vernacular "Tenon & Mortis" wooden structure in old farmhouses in Caizhai village.

During the daytime, the factory is designed to introduce large amount of natural lighting into the space. During the nighttime, two LED lighting systems are adopted for either production needs or basic night lighting requirements to save energy consumption.

The Tofu Factory not only performs sustainable in the issue of construction and maintenance, but also promises a far-reaching societal resilience.

As the factory supplies tofu for healthy lunch meals to local schools, it has also become a field-trip educational workshop to teach students the traditional tofu production. The factory is also an alternative rural museum with the production as live exhibition of the traditional heritage from Caizhai village. It has become the village identity for Caizhai community.

The new production conditions and increased tourism have improved both the quality and price of the village tofu products. After its completion, around 30 young villagers returned home from cities to join the production. Two villager unions have been established, one as production union to operate the factory, the other one to grow organic soya beans to ensure quality of raw material for production. The factory has also inspired a more ecological agriculture around the village.

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