The new Demonstration Centre will be located at the entrance of the Eco Valley area in Beijing. The center will showcase the newest technologies for the sustainable growth of vegetables, fruits and flowers. COFCO aims to become a Demonstration Center where agriculture, ecology and leisure come together: a center where visitors can experience and enjoy the production and taste of fresh food and the color of flowers throughout the year.
The building is austere: a transparent sculpture of steel and glass based on a standard greenhouse model. The special entrance and the wetland garden with central plaza form the spacious heart of the building. From this central hall, the building volume terraces down to the agriculture and leisure zones. A lower intersecting zone houses the theatre on the leisure zone side and special agriculture on the agriculture zone side. The terraced volume is crowned by rows of slender wind turbines.
The building has been divided into different rooms, each with a specific landscape theme. The circulation system is inspired by a Chinese knot, where one can choose either short or long routes. Along the route one can find a flower cultivation area, a flower kingdom with spectacular flower hills and plants hanging from the ceiling, two types of restaurants including one on the flower hill, a theatre, a pick-yourself garden, a vegetable kingdom, a high-tech agricultural demonstration zone and a shop. Playgrounds for children are inspired by flowers and vegetables where fantasy worlds are created with hanging objects in fantastic colors.
The climate control of the demonstration centre is designed in such a way that visitors will experience different climate zones throughout the building. This is realized by local heating, cooling and humidification systems. All rainwater is collected and used for irrigation and (evaporative) cooling. Around 50% of the total water demand for the centre is provided by the rainwater collection system. The collected rainwater is stored inside the building under the restaurant area. In summer, heat is stored in the ground while cold from the ground is used for cooling. In winter, the heat returns from under the ground in order to heat the building. The building is designed to be as energy efficient as possible. Triple insulation screens reduce the heat loss during cold nights and the walls accumulate solar heat during the day which keeps the building warm. An innovative ventilation system reduces the energy demand because of its ability to recover energy from the air in the ventilation system. Solar panels are installed on the south facing areas of the roof and car park which can potentially produce 2 million kWh of electricity.