ranging dramatically in scales, this oatmeal factory in china deeply stimulates the senses

ranging dramatically in scales, this oatmeal factory in china deeply stimulates the senses

The Oatmeal Factory: from intimate to monumental


In their latest project, The Oatmeal Factory in Shanxi, China, JSPA Design used traditional materials, namely brick and concrete, to form an impressive series of open-air public gardens and patios. Ranging in proportion from the intimate to the monumental, these spaces stimulate the senses by opening the building to an abundance of constantly shifting natural light.


The production process, mostly automated, needed two production lines with high volume machinery and spaces open to the public with shop, café, and office space. The project’s surroundings offered poor quality, with newly constructed industrial buildings, dry landscapes, and coal mines. It seemed interesting to develop the factory as an introverted building that would recreate its own natural environment. Besides satisfying all functional requirements, we thought the project as a building that stimulates human senses, that would propose an incredible experience to the visitor, writes the studio. 

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all imags courtesy of JSPA Design



a dynamic sytem of brick walls by JSPA DESIGN 


JSPA Design (see more here) articulated its vision by using a system of brick walls to enclose and conceal The Oatmeal Factory’s various technical spaces, thus creating an opaque ground floor. The team also set up a simple concrete volume atop the ground level where public spaces unfold. ‘Patios and large gardens will pierce the whole building to provide natural light while creating impressive spatial dilatations within the factory. Central production spaces will also get natural light from concrete sheds, opening the roof to the north light,’ continues the studio.


The brick walls start from the front of the factory, where a landscape area is voluntarily left open for communal use, with benches and pools for kids to play in. The brick pattern slowly expands from the benches to become the property fence and, later, the façade of the whole building. 

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The Oatmeal Factory in Shanxi, China



The shape taken by the brick walls forms and defines the different entrances of the factory: raw materials delivery, product loading, staff, and visitor entry. Separated into distinct paths, staff and visitors will never cross paths inside the factory; indeed, while workers enjoy a functional organization, visitors will go through a planned spatial experience. At one point, the production line is showcased to guests in an elevated corridor overlooking the workshop. Meanwhile, the dormitory for employees sits in the back of the factory ‘as an invisible architecture.’


The brick fence wall was thickened to host the building, and patios were created to introduce light to the rooms without taking away their intimate ambiance. Finally, the space between the factory and dormitory gives way for a garden furnished with a concrete table and square seats. 

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a sculptural system of brick and concrete



creating spatial links through foundational materials 


In this project, the choice of construction materials carries a strong meaning. On the one hand, installing grey bricks through local construction methods creates a deep relationship with the site. Exposed concrete, on the other hand, emphasizes the modernity of the building and allows structure and architecture to become one.


The landscape design is also fully integrated into the process, and rainwater collected on the roof is redirected to water pools on different levels through cast-in-place concrete water exhausts, making the natural rainwater circulation part of the spatial experience. ‘The water flows until the factory’s entrance where the last waterfall, combined with a twelve meters cantilever concrete logo wall, invites the visitor to enter the architecture,’ wraps up JSPA Design

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ranging in proportion from the intimate to the monumental

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light-filled factory spaces


the oatmeal factory by jspa design 9
opening the building to an abundance of constantly shifting natural light

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warm-toned lighting emphasizes intimacy within the large scale design

the oatmeal factory by jspa design 3
forming an impressive series of open-air public gardens and patios









project info:


name: The Oatmeal Factory

location: Ningwu, Shanxi, China 
architecture: JSPA Design



designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom

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