Cassia Co-op Training Centre

Location: Kerinci, Sumatra, Indonesia
Client:Cassia Co-op 
Project: Education for cinnamon farmers
Cost: 225,000 NOK
Construction period: August to October 2011
Built by: TYIN drawing office and local workers
Architects: Gjermundshamn Wibe, Morten Staubo, Therese Jonassen, Kasama Yamtree, Andreas G. Gjertsen, Yashar Hanstad
Students: Rozita Rahman, Bronwyn Long, Sarah Louati, Zofia Pietrowska, Zifeng Wei

Efforts Cassia Coop Training Centre started in autumn 2010. It all began with a visit from the French businessman Patrick Barthelemy. He had taken the road all the way from Sumatra to our office in Trondheim, and sat in front of us with a fascinating story and a suitcase full of cinnamon. Part of the story was about how an area in Sumatra accounts for 85% of all cinnamon production, and this is by far the world’s largest producer of the popular spice. The less pleasant part of the story was about the disenfranchised and working poor who spend long hours in the dark, accident prone factories. The story made an impression on us. After a year of planning, we found ourselves deep in Sumatra cinnamon forests, ready to draw and build a sustainable cinnamon school for local farmers and workers.

Cassia Coop Training Centre has become a unique center with ambitions to be better than their competitors, not only on quality, but primarily on ethics. The company wants to set a new standard for how to run a socially well-functioning business, local farmers and workers to get decent wages, a proper health care and access to school and education. In addition, Cassia Coop’s factories focus on safety and hygiene.

The main idea behind the project is a classic grip with a light wooden construction of a heavy base of concrete and brick. Wooden construction gives a feeling of being inside a cinnamon forest. Cassia Coop Training Centre is built around two powerful duriantrær, overlooking the beautiful Lake Kerinci in front and cinnamon woods in the back. One of the main challenges was to create a naturally ventilated greenhouse built during the 600-square-foot roof. Here we have the use of knowledge and experience from previous projects, including the use of thermal mass, reduction of solar radiation and maximized eaves.


The project is mainly constructed of two materials, locally produced bricks and stem from cinnamon trees. Wooden posts is a residual product of cinnamon production and low status among the locals.The material’s low status is undeserved, and we decided to use it in everything from major construction to the interior. Crafts precision we find in including windows and doors in the center is among the finest we have seen through our projects.

The main construction comprises a mass produced Y-pillar, bolted down into a large sole of concrete.The columns’ location subjection layout, while construction system ensures a tight and rigid construction. Under the huge roof surface we find five freestanding brick buildings, including a small Laboratory, classrooms, offices and kitchens.

In a project of this size, with a short time frame of three months, the logistics become one of the biggest challenges. With 70 workers on site, eight water buffalo to pick trees from the forest and its own sawmill on site, is good project management is essential. The entire project consists of 10 single detail. Simple and pragmatic design makes it possible to build the project with only unskilled workers.

One of the main challenges of building in this area is the frequent earthquakes. The construction has so far survived several earthquakes over five on the Richter scale. This shows that the idea of ​​separating the various building components with different material frequency works. Cassia Coop Training Centre has passed the test forces of nature. We hope and believe that it will also live up to the ambition of providing local farmers and cinnamon workers a safe, sanitary and safe especially socially sustainable workplace.

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