This is cool. In a mountain village well known for its tofu, a new commercial kitchen that allows for the local families to not only hone their craft, but do so in a food-grade-certificate environment.
Gently stepping down to follow both the landscape and the adjacent river, this is no typical industrial-food ‘factory’. With its assemblage of sawtooth roofs and windows all around, it’s the very definition of light-filled and keeps the cooks connected to the community. And vice-versa, opening up this region’s traditions for all to see, whether local or a new tourist clientele. Like a series of terraces, the stepping nature of the building and site also allows for gardens and greenery all the way down, leading to a tofu-tastic tasting room.
Count me as a fan of this. Great use of the the program, matching the process of tofu making to with a long and linear building that is further enhanced by using the natural topography of the site. Add in a great use of elegant wood construction with plenty of glass and the rich tones of the stone floor that’s nicely mirrored in the kitchen’s counters. Great stuff.
“There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.
There are not more than five primary colours, yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever been seen.
There are not more than five cardinal tastes, yet combinations of them yield more flavours than can ever be tasted.”
— Sun Tzu
Wasa Bread is great. Totally delicious. So I was excited to find this in the store:
Hooray! Must try. And I did, and they are exquisitely good. Happy dance time!
But… then there’s this:
Four. Wrapped. Bags. Inside. An excess. Of plastic. For crackers.
Still delicious. But not keen at all on the packaging…
Another building tonight by one of my favs, BIG Architects… but something decidedly different in scale, scope, and form from much of their other work. It is a restaurant that becomes a village.
The starting point for the project is itself quite nifty, the adaptive reuse of a protected warehouse that once stored mines (explosives!) for the Royal Danish Army (that is also, humorously, across the river from and affords a great view of BIG’s power plant and ski slope (I am not making that up… this is an actual thing!)). Due to the landmarked status of the building, the buildable area was very limited, only being allowed in the small areas where small extensions had been erected in times past. The client was an avant-garde restaurant serving reinvention of Nordic cuisine. Oh, and they wanted greenhouses to supply their kitchen. Ready? Go!
The result is quite glorious. BIG settled on three main starting points: filling the existing landmarked structure with the “back of house” functions, off of which hangs a kitchen that in turn off of which radiates a number of small pavilions to form a village of architectural forms. Each one of these pavilions has its own character both inside and out, and each have their privileged views both outwards towards the nature preserve, water, or the city, while each also have a view to the central and open service kitchen.
There’s a lot of beauty to be found here in the meticulous detailing of all the seemingly disparate buildings. Brick roofs! Highly articulated ceilings with glowing skylights! Striated stone walls! Rough brick and sensual wood! A feeling of old and new dancing together! Cozy enclosure and expansive windows! And to literally top it all off, an amazing glass roof that connects everything together.
And while it might be considered “dead simple”, the entry way is what entices me the most for the way it serenely presents itself, a lovely mass of steel and wood, seemingly-symmetrical-but-in-actuality nestled between two differently crafted pavilions. The proportions, the combination of materials, the way the overhang invites and calls forward, it’s all so very well done.
Yeah, gotta add this one to my list of places to visit (even if I can’t get a reservation within). There’s something magical in this assemblage, and I want to experience it in person.
“The lack of regulation meant that companies could pretty much put whatever they wanted into food with no fear of being held accountable. “[Food] wasn’t safety tested, because there were no rules requiring that,” says Blum. “It wasn’t labeled because there were no rules requiring that anyone tell you what was in your food. And it wasn’t illegal even if you killed someone.”
Companies were adding copper to vegetables to make them look greener and 20 Mule Team Borax to butter as a preservative—assuming it was butter and not beef tallow or ground-up cow stomach dyed to look like butter. Spices contained things like ground coconut shells, charred rope, brick dust, even floor sweepings. Honey was often little more than dyed corn syrup. The phrase “a muddy cup of coffee” might date back to this era, when ground coffee typically contained dyed sawdust, tree bark, or charred bone, and fake coffee beans were made out of wax and dirt. “I’m especially bitter about this, because I love coffee,” says Blum.
Dairy suppliers were among the worst offenders, adding pureed calf brains to milk to make it look more like rich cream, thinning the milk with water and gelatin, and then adding dyes, chalk, or plaster dust to correct the color. Worst of all, they added formaldehyde—then widely used as an embalming fluid to slow the decomposition of corpses—to milk as a preservative. (The additives were given innocuous names like Rosaline and Preservaline.) Hundreds of children were sickened, and many died, from the tainted milk. Formaldehyde was also used as a preservative in meat.
That was the driving force behind Wiley’s radical “Poison Squad” project. (He actually referred to it as “hygienic table trials”; journalists gave it the more colorful moniker.) He recruited several young men to be his guinea pigs—all of whom signed waivers—and provided them with three healthy square meals a day. The catch: half of them also were given capsules containing borax, salicylic acid, or formaldehyde. Wiley started with the borax, thinking it would be the safest additive, and was alarmed at how quickly his squad members sickened.
The results convinced Wiley that federal regulation was necessary to protect American citizens from the dangerous and fraudulent practices of food suppliers. Naturally, industry leaders pushed back against Wiley’s proposed legislation. The National Association of Food Manufacturers formed around this time, along with chemical industry manufacturing associations, as companies pooled their resources to oppose the ominous specter of government regulation. They even instituted a smear campaign against Wiley. One trade journal called him “the man who is doing all he can to destroy American business.”
With Roosevelt’s support, Congress finally passed the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906.”
— excerpt from this great article at arstechinca
It’s amazing to me that this was just over a hundred years ago. That until then you had to spend time and effort and worry to check every thing and even with that work could never know for sure if what you were getting was what you thought you were getting and you or others could easily be sickened or maimed or die.
It’s also a great story about the scientific method, of curiosity, of rigour, of courage in the face of opposition, and a commitment to your fellow human beings.
Definitively makes me want to read the book about Dr Wiley.
Adaptive reuse, highly textured and rugged insertions, large mechanical devices operated by hand cranks… yep, it must be a design by Olson Kundig!
And how! Once an old mechanic’s garage, the walls, ceiling, and windows all proudly wear the patina of time. Within this rich background are added the equally industrial-like bits to turn the space into a winery and a company HQ. Large pivoting windows replace the old garage doors, allowing the tasting room to become part of the sidewalk and vice-versa. Everything within the room (including a large seating platform that doubles as a stage) is movable to allow as many uses as possible, from tasting to dinner to dancing to poetry to music jams.
Offices occupy the other half of the building, separated by or alternately opened to the winery via a single step up and large sliding solid steel plates that fit the look perfectly.
Yeah, I like this one a lot. It hits so many of my aesthetic inclinations. Good stuff.
Just made a butternut squash, sweet potato, tomato, collard greens, lentil, and curry stew for upcoming lunches! Looking forward to the mmmmm over the next few weeks…
It was dinner time, and two fish lay in elegant plates on the table before us. At this point in the trip – my first to China for some kung fu training – this was expected. Every dinner featured one, usually two, very whole and complete fish. But there was one thing that I felt I didn’t quite have a grasp on yet. Fortunately, I was seated next to Sifu that night.
“Sifu,” I asked, “What’s the secret to serving fish, so that you don’t get any bones?”
He paused, smiled, and said, “Don’t eat fish.”
It took me a moment, but I got it.
And like many things fish related, it went well beyond the realm of fish.
To eat fish is to get bones. If you’ve made the choice to eat fish, to go down that route, then bones should be, if not expected at least predicted. As the expression goes, it comes with the territory.
So too in many of our lifelong activities. Down certain paths, especially many worthwhile paths, there are things that will come up, things we will encounter, things we need to deal with, that, while not inevitable, there is a chance (and perhaps likely) that they will arise.
To get caught up in frustration or upset or “shouldn’ts” is, in some ways, kinda weird. We made the choice. We said we wanted fish. And lo, here are the bones of that fish.
It needn’t, of course, descend into fatalism or cynicism – that is as much an illusion as imagining boneless fish forever. Possibility doesn’t live at the extremes.
Inside possibility, we swim and dance down those worthwhile paths, seeking what we desire, dealing with and putting aside the bones that arise with clarity, peace and grace.
And sometimes, in the most literal way, we serve ourselves and eat some very delicious fish.
Supermarket chalk artists can be amazing!