Cassia Co-op Training Centre is a sustainable educational facility built specifically for cinnamon farmers and workers on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Designed by the ever resourceful TYIN Tegnestue, the open-air facility was built to help local laborers receive support, fair payment, education and healthcare. The young Norwegian design/build firm completed the project in just 3 months working with local workers and using local-sourced materials such as wood from the cinnamon tree. Taking lessons learned from their other humanitarian projects, TYIN designed the facility to be naturally ventilated, passively cooled and earthquake resistant.
In 2010, TYIN Tegnestue was approached by a French businessman who told them all about cinnamon production in Sumatra, where 85% of globally-consumed cinnamon is produced. As you might expect there is also a lot of unjust business practices and workers are often underpaid and overworked in unsafe conditions. After discussion and planning, TYIN Tegnestue traveled to Sumatra in order to build a facility that could help alleviate the issues and provide a safe place for workers and farmers to get the education, training, healthcare and fair working conditions they needed. Staring in the summer of 2011, TYIN Tegnestue began working with local builders to construct a training facility on the shores of Kerinci-lake with a cinnamon forest directly behind it.
The 600 sq m facility took only 3 months to build at a cost of 30,000€ using skilled local craftsman, water buffalo, and materials. They first poured a large concrete base onto which they bolted large Y-pillars to ensure structural stability. The area is also subject to frequent earthquakes, so TYIN Tegnestue made certain to build the facility to withstand a severe quake, which it has since its completion in October 2011. Trunks of the cinnamon tree, a byproduct of cinnamon production and not prized at all by the locals, was milled on site for use in the project, proving hopefully to the locals that the wood is in fact hardy and useful.
Locally-crafted brick was used to create five buildings including a small laboratory, classrooms, offices and a kitchen. The brick acts as thermal mass absorbing heat and keeping the interior spaces cool. The facility is built around existing trees and features a large courtyard and a very large overhanging roof. This provides shade and the layout, open hallways and window placement encourage natural ventilation to keep the space cool. Cassia Co-Op Training Centre is now a space to promote safe, sanitary and socially sustainable working conditions for local farmers and workers.
Images ©Pasi Aalto