Shen Nong Shi Cultural and Mixed Use Center / Ürobrous_studiolab

Text description provided by the architects. SHEN NONG SHI is located in the prime area of Taipei City, Taiwan. It is one of the few remaining typical Taiwanese townhouses amidst the rapid urban development of Taipei. Contrasted with the surrounding commercial buildings filled with chaotic signs and neon lights, the exterior of this building bears the marks of time. It stands quietly in the midst of the city. Through the initial survey, we discovered how to create a building facade that can engage in a dialogue with the city, unlike traditional commercial buildings. This design approach aligns with the owner’s vision of using this space for innovative AI technology research and development, thus creating a different spatial use and architectural expression from the past. This became the starting point for our design.

Shen Nong Shi Cultural and Mixed Use Center  / Ürobrous_studiolab - Interior Photography
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SHEN NONG SHI integrates Embodied AI, Robotics automation, and Sim2Real simulation technology in an experimental space aimed at revolutionizing the future dining experience. The restaurant, chefs, and kitchen create a completely new lifestyle and dining experience. In terms of design and planning, the fourth floor is designated for exhibitions and lectures, and it is a multifunctional space that combines dining technology with art and design, expanding the customer base and industry types. The third floor serves as reception, office, and meeting space, while the first and second floors are experimental and exhibition spaces for new technology.
In discussions between the design team and the owner, the concept of a “training ground” was adopted to respond to the design idea of chefs and technology gy being “integrated.”

Shen Nong Shi Cultural and Mixed Use Center  / Ürobrous_studiolab - Interior Photography, Kitchen
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By deconstructing and re-integrating common materials used by the public and incorporating contemporary design elements and the surrounding environmental conditions, we articulated a building design distinct from the surrounding noise. On the exterior facade of the building, we redesigned the commonly seen orchid dustproof net used in agriculture. This redesign allows for free dynamic opening and closing, creating a new building facade and urban expression. We aimed to strengthen Shennong’s innovation in a non-intrusive manner, transforming the laboratory from just a laboratory into a space that can engage with its surroundings and create a new type of urban experimental architecture.

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We use a thin, translucent material to gently separate the interior and exterior of the building, creating two viewing perspectives.

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From the inside out: The exterior mesh resolves the privacy issue of large floor-to-ceiling windows. Standing in front of these windows, the mesh acts like a filter for the urban streetscape. Simultaneously, the freely controllable mesh can adjust the outdoor lighting, turning every wind, rain, and beam of light into a painting. From the outside in: Design-wise, we chose a silver-gray orchid mesh with a metallic sheen, presenting a pure and abstract surface that reflects the surrounding environment like a canvas. The new mesh facade adapts to the urban environment, sometimes opening to reveal the building behind the canvas, and other times closing to partially conceal behind the canvas. With the blowing wind and the floating mesh, Shennong consistently presents a different facade, capturing various moments.

Shen Nong Shi Cultural and Mixed Use Center  / Ürobrous_studiolab - Exterior Photography, Windows, Facade

In interior spaces, we use rough concrete as the penetrating material, resembling caves in the city. Here, people and technology intersect, learn from each other, practice together, and collaborate with engineers and professionals to design a flexible, assemble-and-disassemble modular kitchen. There is a seamless circulation system and experimental space allowing both humans and robotic arms to move freely. This is a mysterious experimental space hidden in the bustling city and aims to connect the world through the fusion of technology and cuisine.

Shen Nong Shi Cultural and Mixed Use Center  / Ürobrous_studiolab - Exterior Photography, Windows, Cityscape

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