CIfA 2019 Award For Architecture: Mouton Citrus Packing Facility – Kube Architecture


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The architecture of factories is often overpowered by technical and functional demands leaving little room for architectural inventiveness. In the case of the Mouton Citrus Packaging facility, the operational conveying machine determines the spaces around which an enclosure had to be designed. Here the organizing of spaces is imagined as a series of operational layers. The processing of fruit, the movement of the factory worker, structure and then the envelope that allows light in, and the occasional view out, to the landscape. The result is a series of sheds stacked next to each other to cover the length of the packing machine.

Each shed is shifted to allow light through the roof and walls which renders the interior space a warm dignified working environment and ameliorates its industrial aesthetic. This is its biggest accomplishment and a quality so often absent in these architectural building types. The exterior shadows created by the shifting of the sheds further accentuates the roof profile creating depth in elevation resulting in a large building which is visually broken up and which sits comfortably against the mountainous backdrop.

A simple yet delicate portal frame spans the width of the packaging machine and consists of a truss supported by steel columns. This enables a structural module that could be produced off-site and assembled on-site with minimal on-site modifications. According to the client, welding was required only once, which is a testament to the extensive planning and coordination that had to be considered to enable this 4-month construction period.

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