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The Tea Factory

Part 1 Project 2019
Sam McLellan
University of the West of England | UK
A social enterprise which combines light industry with vocational learning opportunities to create a mixed-use site. Growing, manufacturing and selling tea-based products which provides jobs at all skill levels, the intention is to unite the economically polarised neighbourhood of Redcliffe around social principles inspired by the philosopher Confucius.

Situated on Redcliffe Wharf, the building responds to its context by using the historic land formation and its namesake of the red cliffs to generate a form that blends into its landscape. Using “Gonshi”, the Chinese study of rock formations which display characteristics denoting beauty and balance, the building’s rocky exterior undulates across the site, pausing to allow glimpses into a softer tectonic found internally.

Organised around concrete cores providing resistance to shear forces, a glulam structure consisting of structural bays supports the internal program. Deep, primary column/beams support the external structure while shallower secondary members support intermediate floors and create a rhythmic aesthetic order to the interior spaces.

The deficit in thickness between primary and secondary structural elements creates risers on either side of key spaces to allow an integrated ventilation, heating /cooling system to navigate the building, which allows great flexibility with maintenance and future alterations.

Sam McLellan


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