This innovative olive-oil processing facility was designed by Chilean architect Guillermo Hevia. Surrounded by olive groves, the Olisur plant is located in the hills of San José de Marchigue, 230 kilometres southeast of Santiago. The facility contains the complete olive producing cycle from pressing to storage, from administrative and marketing to a tasting and selling outlet.
The building comprises two geometrically simple volumes. Production and storage functions are housed in linear array in the main building, the offices in the lower, north-facing block. The architectural programme is designed to fit seamlessly into the landscape and the surrounding 1800-hectare olive grove that comes right up to the plant. The building’s colours blend with the scantily clad landscape while the architecture deliberately recalls the anonymous local constructions to be found scattered along the Chilean coast.
The building’s unobtrusive presence is the outward expression of its sustainable energy features. Although each volume is heated and cooled separately, both rely on an environment-friendly, energy efficient geothermal system and heat pump. The main volume is entirely serviced by this system producing cold or hot air that is circulated by the heat pump as the season requires.
Ventilated façades help maintain comfort-zone temperatures on the interior with the help of the natural ventilation afforded by the roof that takes off excess heat. The extent of the roof overhang was determined by calculating the optimal shadow cones on the basis of summer and winter solar radiation. The main building receives natural light from skylights while a reflective pond at the entrance to the offices contributes to the cooling effect.
The main building comprises a plinth and a series of 60 cm reinforced concrete pillars supporting steel beams and laminated wood roof trusses that in turn support metal sheet and insulating panels.
The walls of the ventilated façades comprise inner insulating and outer cement fibre panels set in steel frames. Special ventilation ducts allow airflow through the façade. The north-facing office block has a frame of laminated wooden posts with glazing and plywood infills. The floor is lined with vinyl materials.