‘tony’s farm’ by playze, shanghai, chinaimage © bartosz kolonkoall images courtesy of playze



international practice playze has recently finished ‘tony’s farm’ for the biggest organic food farm in shanghai, which produces vegetables and fruits. it is meant to be more than just a place for vegetable production, its vision is to integrate the consumer and therefore promote a natural lifestyle. to link the activities of the working people with the visitors of the farm, the building complex combines the main reception, a lobby, (working also for the future hotel rooms) and a vip area, with the new offices and an existing warehouse, where the fruits and vegetables are packaged. the building provides transparency within the manufacturing process. thus it supports the vision of integrating the visitor and helps to reinforce consumer confidence in their products. at the same time the building design is driven by the concept of sustainability, combined with it’s iconic qualities, it communicates and promotes the core concept of the company.


the cubing of the 78 containers follows spatial and climatic demands. the cantilevering gesture marks the main entrance of the site. this is where the visitors enter the structure and find the reception desk. after the lobby, which is accentuated by a three-storey high volume, they step out to an inner courtyard, where they are picked up by electric cars to be brought to their hotel rooms, distributed throughout the farm. the second level allows a connection to the office wing of the building via two bridges. this part of the building complex is covered by the existing warehouse. the east facade has been sliced, so that the new container offices could find shelter underneath the existing roof and form an new inner facade towards the production hall.



playze: tony's farmthe building in the contextimage © bartosz kolonko



since the climatic conditions begged for impermeability and insulation, numerous specific details had to be developed to maintain the stringent appearance of the containers. further, the modular system was challenged by the individual joints, resulting from the irregular distribution of the containers. the structural logic of the container is the framed box, which can be opened or left closed on each of the six faces. these characteristics were amplified in different spatial situations, integrated within the whole structure. the three-storey vertical space is opened to three sides to dissolve the box. in the courtyard, the terraces form a roof to the underneath and borrow from the chinese courtyard typology, whereas the office area is developed in the style of a slab and pillar cluster.



playze: tony's farmpatio inside the entrance buildingimage © bartosz kolonko



in order to cope with the high aspirations of the client regarding the protection of the environment, several strategies have been used to reduce the energy consumption of the building. the entire structure is well insulated, even though the containers appear to be in their raw form. the original doors have been perforated and serve as external shading blinds for the sun-exposed facades to minimize solar heat gain. a geothermal heat pump delivers energy for the air conditioning and floor heating systems. controlled ventilation helps to optimize air exchange rates and therefore to minimize the energy loss through uncontrolled aeration, and led lighting reduces the general electricity consumption. another ambition of the project is to reduce the energy hidden in construction materials, the so called grey energy. therefore recycled, ecologically sustainable, fast growing or at least recyclable materials have been used. the re-use of freight containers seemed adequate, first for its inherent structural independence and second for being a common metaphor for ‘recycled space.’ further, their minimal weight allowed the re-use of the existing foundation plate. local bamboo products were utilized for indoor and outdoor flooring, as well as all the built-in furniture.



playze: tony's farmconnexion between the factory and the entrance buildingimage © bartosz kolonko



playze: tony's farmdouble height over the lobbyimage © bartosz kolonko



playze: tony's farmlight effect in the triple height spaceimage © bartosz kolonko



playze: tony's farmlight effect on the insideimage © bartosz kolonko



playze: tony's farmentrance spaceimage © bartosz kolonko



playze: tony's farmcantilever over the entrance by nightimage © bartosz kolonko



playze: tony's farmfrontal view of the entrance by nightimage © bartosz kolonko



playze: tony's farmfloor plan / level 0  and section


playze: tony's farmfloor plan / level 1 and section



project info:



client: tony’s farmlocation: shanghai, chinacompleted: july 2011built area: 1060m2number of containers: 78team: mengjia he, pascal berger, marc schmit, meijun wu, liv xu ye, ahmed hosny, andres tovar, maggie tang, sebastian heftiphoto credits: bartosz kolonko