Olisur olive oil factory by GH + A Architects



Santiago studio Guillermo Hevia Architects have completed a factory for olive oil manufacturers Olisur, located 200 km south of Santiago in Chile.


The building comprises the company offices and factory, and is made of concrete clad in wood and glass.


The factory uses geothermic energy, natural lighting and natural ventilation. According to the architects, all materials used in production of the oil are biodegradable.


Photographer: Cristóbal Palma


Here's some more information from the architects:


Olisur Olive Oil Factory and Offices

Chief Architect: Guillermo Hevia
Collaborators: Tomás Villalón, Francisco Carrión, Guillermo Hevia G, Marcela Suazo


A volume of simple and emphatic architecture, which reinterprets the anonymous architecture of the coastal valleys in the center of Chile.


It poses itself above the soft tree-lined areas, peeking gently with its facades of wood and tones that highlight the luminosity of the place. The body melts down as one with the geography and projects the lines of trees upon his facades.


It employs sustainable technologies, creating a favorable mood for work and the production of quality olive oil.


The new Almazara of Olisur is located 230 kilometers southwest of Santiago (Chile) in San José de Marchigue (La Estrella, VI Region).


It is in the forefront of the Almazaras (olive oil factories) worldwide, incorporating the use of multiple bioclimatic technologies (geotermic, eolic, luminic) both in the buildings as well as in the productive process achieving a real commitment with sustaintability, energy saving, quality of life and environment protection.


Architecture is the protagonist to achieve these objectives. The simple forms of the closed principal volume are complemented by a smaller volume made of wood and glass which houses the offices and services.


They are the images of a building that belongs to the place, with an easy reading which represents nature starting from light, textures and color.


The illumination of its facades and office areas (transparent) comes alive with its shades between lights and shadows that seem to rise in the surrounding soft wooded hillock and the geography of the place. The architecture of this longitudinal building is terraced in different levels to take up the slopes.



Geothermic instead of central heating and air conditioning for the production areas and the oil barrels area, ventilated façades system in the building, passive energies to allow air to come into and go out the different areas of the offices and services (cross ventilation in the ceiling).


Evaporation from the water mirror located in the front of the office building and cone studies of shade and sun direction to determine the eaves necessary for the different seasons.


The main building uses natural zenithal light instead of artificial lighting. All materials used in this industrial complex are biodegradable.


As an architecture studio we don’t understand sustaintability as a theory, but as something concrete. We research into this concept and the most important thing is that we apply it.

Main Materials: Wood, Glass, Concrete, Prefab Panels.







Posted on Wednesday February 4th 2009 at 1:38 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Thanatos

    very simpel but interesting building. like the contextuality with the surrounding nature – it creates a mood of heavanly loneliness which I appreciate in a certain way. therefore reminds me of Bodegas Ysios by Calatrava.
    GH + A you did it, great job.

  • I wish the windows weren’t wonky; they almost seem to relate contextually to the strong perspectives of the linear plantings, but they come off as little too ‘funky’.

    Besides that. Lovely.

  • John

    Interesting and a lovely placement in the site but in what meaningful sense are glass and concrete biodegradable? Glass is reckoned to take 1 million years to biodegrade. As for concrete – impossible I’m afraid. As for the ‘prefab panels’ what exactly are they made of? Unless the structure is wood, mud and straw these claims are going to be exposed as unsustainable.

  • bram

    nice design… for a factory

  • SillyBug

    Recyclability is not the only criteria for sustainability. Concrete is a durable material that does not need to be repaired/replaced often and is not toxic to environment where it stands. It has a minimum of 50-year lifetime. Likewise, glass is not toxic, so it doesn’t matter even if it can stay intact and does not degrade for a million years. In addition, both can contribute a lot to saving energy if implemented correctly. Yes, concrete is obtained by environmentally very unfriendly methods, and both the production and recycling of glass take high heat, aka , lots of energy. But under circumstances where neither have better alternatives as material function and performance, these facts are to be endured, imho.

  • J*

    I really like the design, but I am quite annoyed at stuff like 1)”According to the architects, all materials used in production of the oil are biodegradable.” or 2) “All materials used in this industrial complex are biodegradable. […] Main Materials: Wood, Glass, Concrete, Prefab Panels.”

    so 1): first, I really would like to check that, and also is that the architects’ job to do such a statement?

    and 2) as John said earlier, this is quite ridiculous.

    So I guess this building could be quite sustainable (use of light, natural ventilation, and could last 200years+ without more work on it -concrete- ) but they should not state this is all “bio-degradable”…

  • me

    bram… My grandma used to say: “if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all”

    Pointless criticism is just that… pointless

    Make a good argument and you’ll look smarter

  • GH + A

    Dear Friends, thank you for the comments

    I want to make clear that what we ment in the description as “all materials used in production of the oil are biodegradable( in the industrial complex)” are not reffer to contruction materials such as concrete or glass, we are talking about the materials used in the process of making the olive oil,

    in this work we have more participation than only architecture, so we preffer to choose production material that were biodegradable and to be more according with the sustainability philosophy of the architecture.

  • Ajua

    me… greetings to your grandmother, very smart…

  • jp

    whats the value of uploading those plans and sections at such a tiny scale?

  • q

    if Bond would make olive oil, this is the factory he would do it in.. nice.

    The oil production would just be a cover though..

  • Karl Bönckel

    Olive oil factory! A building for the real economy! It’s the future!

  • scarpasez

    Beautiful. Very refined, elegant, and connected to its environment. Great wood roof system, too, simple and disciplined.

    As per usual, Dezeen, bigger drawings, please! The teeny-tiny plans and sections are a tease.

  • Hugh

    GH+A wrote:
    [I want to make clear that what we meant in the description as “all materials used in production of the oil are biodegradable (in the industrial complex)” are not referring to construction materials; we are talking about the materials used in the process of making the olive oil.]

    The materials used in the process of making olive oil are a) olives. And maybe a small amount of food-grade talc. But basically olives. In fact, this ‘biodegradable’ material includes olive pits, which are a nightmare to compost and reuse. They cannot just be thrown back on the fields. It is a process intensive and inefficient in time and human labor. And runoff can be a big environmental problem. If only they could be pressed into strong, full-flavor, extra virgin building materials.

  • Richie

    I really like the clarity and material expression of this but I wish those black window strips had been fitted into the orthogonal grid set up by the rest of the structure instead of being done skew-ways like that, it makes the whole thing look a little off to my eyes.

  • I disagree, I think the black shapes that cut into the wood facade are appropriately scaled and interesting enough that the rigorous orthogonal field of panels is separated into a much more distinctive and visually appealing facade. This is more then a factory, it is a branding opportunity for this company.

    I can imagine the contmporary graphic labels for the bottles with those lines, they are strong, and certainly not funky. I particularly enjoy the short facades with the white bands. This has a modern cooper’s touch as if the bands are the hoops retaining the staves of a barrel.

    The site plan is clever, if not cute with the association of an olive shape. The building also does well relating to the site in terms of changing topographic conditions.

    This project is exactly why I am currently learning spanish. Many spanish speaking firms have taken a well structured, holistic artists approach to design. They do not ask their computers to concoct new and unusual forms, or play with fantasy that lacks engineering. They have a vision and it flows out of them into these simple and delightful projects that shame us all. They are continuing the language of architecture, and not reinventing it as some design object to be worshiped.

    Gracias GH+A, muchas gracias.

  • great detail
    very good work

  • monica

    Sustainability is not the main argument to a building .I think this is a wonderfull work that bring good desing, green architecture, elegance, and discussion. When there is dicussion into a building means there is a good intelectual exercise.

  • Alex Shin

    Anyone else think that this looks like the building from Quantam of Solace?

  • A. Santander

    “They do not ask their computers to concoct new and unusual forms, or play with fantasy that lacks engineering. They have a vision and it flows out of them into these simple and delightful projects that shame us all. They are continuing the language of architecture, and not reinventing it as some design object to be worshiped” by Michael
    Michael I could not agree more; this said from architectural theorists to politicians- and please listen up: SOBER UP! THE PARTY IS OVER!
    GH+A created a building which all of us could learn a thing or two. Well done. You have taken the superficiality and vanity out of architecture and implemented masterfully a call to “essence” architecture… those who don’t adapt and insist on churning out pseudo-arch superficial scripting vomit will soon find themselves defunct, like some folks that still drive their V8 100,000 dollar hummers… get the analogy?