This project re-imagines the form, function and place of the factory. The factory of today typically is a at, expandable and cheap ‘shed’, almost always placed in a monofunctional industrial zone. Manufacturing is dispersed and obscure, overlooked by a paradigm of mixed-use densi cation. The reasons for this separation seems dubious in today’s rapidly changing industrial landscape. New fabrication ows, disruptive technologies and a changing workforce looks supportive of revisiting the original factory condition: urban and compact, in close proximity to workers and resources. Factory architecture has often been a blunt reflction of technological and societal conditions. How could a contemporary urban factory likewise reflect ongoing shifts?
The first objective was to define the framework of the research, to select a geographical context and a time frame under which to evaluate the architectural and urban development of industry. From a general discourse about industry I wanted to frame an historical perspective, a present urgency and a future scenario.
An existing garment factory was selected as study case, dissected into its functional components and re assembled to function in an urban environment. The outcome of this methodology is a design which maintains the same spatial and functional requirements and uses the complementary functions such as the canteen, the educational centre and the library to create an urban symbiosis with the surrounding environment.
The project is questioning industrial typology in architecture both for its ideological and spatial implications. There currently is a strong preconception about industrial typology, we are convinced that the anonymous shed is intrinsic to its nature. But if we zoom out and put things in perspective, it is easy to see that industrial architecture has continuously changed according to technological and social trends. The journey that led to the contemporary industrial shed has started long ago in small workshops and developed through many different typologies while gradually detaching it self from our domestic environments.
Material production has for centuries animated our urban environments and industrialisation has been the spark of the creation of the modern city. It is only in the last decades that industry has been marginalised from our cities, that it has been “hidden” in suburban areas and anonymous sheds leaving us in the myth of Postindustrialism. A myth because although industries have disappeared out of sight, consumption of material goods per capita has increased. The difference is that it has become dependent on a global supply chain that we can hardly perceive. As a consequence, today,in western countries, we consume without witnessing the implications of industrial production and thereby we become less sensible consumers. But as technology enables smaller and cleaner factories, as consumer awareness increases and as we move towards a circular and more sustainable economy, new possible industrial paradigms