Tofu Factory/

DnA_Design and Architecture


Project Details



Caizhai Village / China



Year (Design/Construction):

2017 / 2019

Area (Net/Gross):

- / 1211 m2
Operational Carbon emissions

Operational Carbon emissions (B6) kgCO2e/m2/y:

Embodied Carbon emissions

Embodied Carbon emissions (A1-A3) kgCO2e/m2:

  • The structure and walls of the building are entirely made of wood.
  • The design requires simple maintenance and provides natural lighting and an open system allowing natural ventilation.

Project description as provided by the Architects.

Tofu is both an agricultural product and the intangible cultural heritage for this ancient village. But the production quality from the original family kitchens did not fit into the food certificate standards. A new factory was programmed by the village entrance, as a village collective economic entity and to upgrade the traditional tofu production.

The building volume is spread along the slope by six production functions. All the production spaces are equipped to upgrade tofu quality, which will allow the tofu product to sell in city supermarkets. By integrating the original individual family workshops, this tofu factory functions as a village community kitchen. The assembly timber structure creates a dialogue with the traditional “tenon and mortise” wooden structure in the village.  It is also environmentally friendly and easy to assemble on site in this mountain village. A covered walkway invites visitors to observe the production process in sequence, and finally arrive at the tasting hall facing the ancient village across the river. This walkway and the tasting hall can be opened up to the public like a pavilion, shared by both visitors and villagers.  The building requires a simple maintenance operation. It adopts natural lighting, natural ventilation, and a moderate and economical operation while maintaining regional cultural characteristics at the same time.   

With additional cultural and educational programs, this building has become a popular field-trip  workshop for young students. The factory is also a village live museum to showcase the tofu making as a village intangible cultural heritage. More importantly, the factory is also a social structure: Through this  factory, two villager unions are established, one as production union to operate the factory, the other one to grow organic soya beans to ensure the quality of raw material. The factory has not only inspired a more ecological agriculture, but also transformed the individual farmers’ households into collective or co-op entities to engage in the market economy. Since the completion, the factory with its new production conditions have improved both the quality and price of the village tofu product, around 30 young villagers returned home from cities to join the production union.  

Client: Economic Cooperation Limited of Caizhai Village, Dadongba Town, Songyang County

Architecture Design: DnA_ Design and Architecture

Principal Architect: Xu Tiantian

Interior Design: DnA_Design and Architecture

Lighting Design: Zhang Xin Studio, Architecture Department of Tsinghua University

Photographer: Wang Ziling,Han Dan

Want to stay up to date?

Sign up to our mailing list to receive regular updates on the most exciting news, research, case studies, and events related to sustainable design.