Mailen Design submits plans for Isle of Man cannabis farm

The purpose-built, fully indoor cultivation and processing farm, dubbed The GrowLab, is understood to be the first on the island.

Funding for the project, close to Ronaldsway Airport, has been raised through Seedrs, which has generated more than £6 million from over 2,200 investors.

The practice is working with client GrowLab Organics (GLO) and has developed a design and building form, with ‘extensive use of virtual reality’, which reflects ‘the flow of activity required for horticulture and cultivation’.

According to the studio, the consideration of specialist building services was ‘crucial through a design where enclosed growing rooms needed to recreate daylight in a highly controlled environment’.

Mailen Design director Ben Mailen said: ‘The design brief was to create a facility that achieves two main objectives. Firstly, it needs to be a highly functional space that efficiently caters to the technical demands of growing natural products, particularly cannabis.

‘The scheme should reshape people’s perception of cannabis cultivation’

‘Secondly, it must present an open and inviting front face for a global headquarters building, with the intention of reshaping people’s perception of cannabis cultivation and use.’

He added: ‘By doing so, it aims to challenge any negative stigmas associated with the industry and foster a more positive and progressive outlook.’

Isle of Man enterprise minister Tim Crookall said the approval to produce medicinal cannabis products on the island represented ‘the dawn of a new economic sector’. He said: ‘It will drive high-value economic diversification and provide new jobs and training opportunities as well as encourage inward investment.’

The scheme went out to public consultation earlier this month with members the public invited to tour the proposed facility through virtual reality.

If the scheme is approved, construction is expected to start in autumn this year.

Similar projects in the UK include the 13,000m² Hilltop Leaf facility in Scotland. The main glasshouse has been delivered by CambridgeHOK with a second phase currently being developed by emerging practice Doodle Architecture.

Mailen Design’s proposed Growlab Organics HQ on the Isle of Man – axonometric

Project data

Location Land to west of Ronaldsway Airport, Isle of Man Airport Technology Gateway
Local authority Isle of Man
Type of project Medicinal/horticulture
Client GLO – Growlab Organics
Architect Mailen Design
Structural engineer To be confirmed
M&E consultant Green Engineering
Principal designer Mailen Design
Main contractor To be confirmed
Funding Private investment; community seed raise with Cancard; community of more than 2,000 individual investors
Tender date Autumn 2023 (To be confirmed)
Start on site date Spring 2024 (To be confirmed)
Completion date Spring 2025 (To be confirmed)
Contract duration To be confirmed
Gross internal floor area 13,000m²
Form of contract and/or procurement D&B/bespoke
Annual CO2 emissions To be confirmed
Total cost Confidential