architecture : urban : visual culture

Compressed Leaves - Tobacco Center in Gödöllő

Botond Félix Frajka's diploma-work is about a processing plant for medical-purpose tobacco. As a compact solution for a functional need, the technology and form of the project go hand in hand.

The topic of my thesis is the Educational Tobacco Processing Plant at the Gödöllő Campus. I wanted to design something new, this is why I searched for something available which nobody had chosen previously. Instead of tobacco production, I set my sights on using tobacco for medicinal purposes. It was important to choose an agricultural area, given the production of tobacco.

The distinctiveness of the area is that there are 3 separately leveled platforms. It can be accessesed via an inner road made of asphalt leading
in from the Institute of Nature Conservation.

My concept is a simple mass distribution and shaping with clear surfaces. The buliding - a tall, long and narrow construct - resembles a corn crib both in build-up and function. Form and technology go hand in hand, one process follows the other, this is how I calculated the length of the building. Since this is also a place of education, I wish to demonstrate both forced and natural drying techniques (on the lower and higher levels). The latter gives the height of the building.

architect: Botond Félix Frajka


The natural drying technique requires containers as a transportation method to the higher levels. This gave the span of the building, helping me with the designs using standardized sizes for transportation and craning. The elevator is positioned at the North side of the building and transports the containers to the levels where the drying processes take place. There are two entrances to the building altogether. The processing part of the plant can be accessed form the North-East, the educational part from South-West. Both are easily approachable.

The building is structurally comprised of steel and reinforced concrete. The basement and the two frontispieces are made of reinforced concrete, the levels above rest on steel trusses, the form is in resemblance of two matchboxes, one inside of the other. The ground floor, where the education is to be provided, blends into the drying levels steel trussing, the walls are light-structured. The heavy wind load called for the use of a widened plate base.

architect: Botond Félix Frajka


Engineering-wise I solved the problem of heating with a ground probe, electricity with solar cells, which produce more energy than the building would use up (meaning it is active house). There are three important and unique features:

  1. Instead of using a roof slab, I used N+ F solar cells (SOLARWATT EASY IN BLACK) for the shell, which provides impermeability. This is responsible for the angle of inclination of the roof, yielding more effective energy production as well.
  2. The opening frontispiece makes way for high transparency and provides control over the natural drying process.
  3. Behind the opening frontiespiece, I have designed a 90 cm wide flooring, which serves as a permanent scaffolding for the observation and inspection of the drying processes for workers and students alike - as well as maintenance purposes.

There are 4 types of material used in this construct: concrete, expanded metal, steel, and glass. I aimed to use as few materials as possible, and the durability and lifespan of these were key factors also. The colour scheme is greatly influenced by the raw and dried tobacco leaves, which appear faintly behind the open cladding.



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