Box Office: Tony’s Organic Farm, Shanghai

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Box Office: Tony’s Organic Farm, Shanghai

Recycled shipping containers offer a sustainable and affordable building solution for homes, offices, schools, and more. One example is Tony’s Organic Farm in Shanghai, China –it’s not just the organic produce that’s got people talking about this office complex and visitor centre! It was built using repurposed shipping containers, which is great for the environment. Take a look at this unique and visually appealing masterpiece…

What is Tony’s Organic Farm?

Tony’s Organic Farm is the largest organic farm in China, and is situated just outside the bustling city of Shanghai. The farm’s founder, and owner of several popular Shanghai restaurants, Tony Zhang Tonggui, became concerned about the safety of mass produced fruit and vegetables and its impact on the environment – especially with Chinas extremely high levels of air pollution. The idea of an organic farm supplying restaurants, households and supermarkets with safe, fresh produce was born, and led to the establishment of Tony’s Organic Farm in 2005. With its own water filtration system, natural manure, fertilisation mixing areas, and the use of natural biological pesticides, Tony’s Organic Farm is certified by the Organic Food Development and Certification Centre of China, which is internationally accredited by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements. The same site now houses an extensive office complex, as well as a visitors centre, complete with restaurant. Future plans include a hotel.

Sustainable recycled architecture

Tony’s Organic Farm’s 1060 square metre complex was built using a total of 78 recycled shipping containers to form a lobby, courtyards, store, office buildings, visitors centre and packaging warehouse. Visitors are welcome to explore areas within the complex to watch workers and see the organic farming process, which creates transparency and helps them to better understand the benefits of organic produce. A sustainable lifestyle message is also successfully communicated with the olive green recycled shipping containers and natural bamboo flooring.

The building design

The main design idea for this architectural wonder was to seamlessly connect the interior and external areas, and so some of the recycled containers were adapted to suit a particular area’s function. There’s an impressive outdoor entrance featuring an overhanging or cantilevered container. This has a minimised support structure – giving the illusion of a ‘floating’ container. A spacious reception area with beautiful wood flooring leads into a lobby with three storey volume – achieved by stacking containers and removing their walls. Visitors can head to an inner courtyard to be shown around the complex in electric cars. The second level has two bridges connecting to a covered office wing which was cleverly integrated by cutting away the existing building. The wing looks onto a production hall where organic produce is packed. Strategically placed containers create shady, quiet outdoor terraces for visitors and workers.

Energy efficient design

In keeping with the environmental message, energy-efficient lighting and systems were a top priority. The complex is well insulated and uses LED lights, reducing energy consumption. Containers doors were perforated and act as shading blinds whilst allowing natural light to flow, and a geothermal heat pump delivers energy for air conditioning and floor heating units. The ventilation throughout the complex is also controlled to further reduce energy costs.

Building offices out of shipping containers

Are you looking for an office complex that’ll grab people’s attention? Build it out of recycled shipping containers à la Tony’s Organic Farm! For more info, get in touch with us today…

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