This project to transform the visitor experience at the Nestle factory in Caçapava forms a new landmark on an otherwise generic stretch of highway connecting Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo. The design consists of two glass towers with exposed triangulated steel-frames, painted a vibrant red. These are connected to a series of footbridges structured in a similar manner. The interventions act as a beacon drawing passing traffic to the public and accessible space of a revamped journey through the factory. The visit becomes a curated tour into the narrative of chocolate production, enhanced by the structural geometry and material presence of the architecture, thus forming a multi-sensory visitor experience.
A thematic circuit
The existing building dates from the 60s and had been designed to receive visitors but in a way that was neither functionally nor museologically successful.
The response was to create a raised visiting circuit separating visitors from the process of production. The external towers form the entrance and exit points and house vertical circulation, taking visitors onto the upper level. Footbridges lead from the towers, running parallel to the roadway and into the factory. These then link into a set of existing elevated walkways that were already within the production spaces.
Within this circuit visitors explore exhibition materials corresponding to the actual production process of the factory below. 10 thematic cores follow the distinct phases of the journey from raw materials to packaging. Circular windows are opened in strategic spots, linking exhibits back to the reality of process. Each core has specific colours and materials, as well as immersive soundtracks and scenography.
The primary structure of the towers and footbridges is in tubular steel, this also supports the external envelope composed of glass and expanded steel panels. The floors are constructed with perforated metal sheets that contribute to the natural ventilation and draining of internal spaces; the roof elements are steel panels with an EPS core to improve their thermal acoustic performance. The structure is made up of non-coplanar triangular meshes 2.5m high that repeat every 10m. Besides making the structure more rigid and more slender, this shape means that the glazing also reflects different parts of the surrounding landscape. Footbridge I, is supported by metallic columns and beams with varying sections. This has 10m spans between the supports and a 27.5m span between the last column and the tower. Footbridge II has 15m spans and a 5m cantilever to the building.