Farallones Community Coffee Wet Mill


TYPOLOGY: Industrial
YEAR: 2014-2016
LOCATION: Ciudad Bolivar, Colombia
CLIENT: Colcafe – Cooperativa de Cafeteros de Andes

Social and environmental factors defined the Farallones project from our earliest discussions with the client. The objective was to ensure that the small coffee producer did not lose its crop due to a lack of resources to maintain its coffee processing facility; Farallones also needed to secure a better price for its product, preventing the contamination of more than 25,0003 The project benefits 750 families in the area of Ciudad Bolívar, Antioquia. This coffee-rich part of the country is eminently rural and currently being transformed into accessible countryside.

The rectangular floor plan measures 28 by 58 meters, with an eaved roof cantilevered 3 meters to provide shade to the coffee pickers while they queue up to deliver their harvest.

Given the local weather conditions, the curtain-wall façade is not designed to be transparent or to artificially regulate the interior temperature. On the contrary, it allows cross-ventilation and provides visual protection by using terracotta-colored GRC concrete panels attached to a structural iron frame.

These panels are arranged into three layers. The lower layer has bas-relief patterns extracted from the typical iconographies of the region, derived from Owen Jones’s patterns. This approach creates a link between pre-existing elements not far removed from local references.

In the intermediate layer, a series of panels with pyramidal sections were poured on burlap-fiber textiles, the same material used in the sacks used for transporting coffee. This allows cool air to enter, essential for the escape of the vapor produced when the water leaves the beans as they dry.

Finally, on the upper layer, a series of panels with rhomboid-shaped perforations helps the vapors to escape and natural light to enter.

The processing plant evokes the typical constructions of the region where the structure defines the volume and, based on the articulation of the eave and the structure, it establishes the relationship with the mass of the roof.