7 Out-of-the-Box Factories

by | 12. Jul 2015

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Factory - 1 - SANAA.jpg

Vitra Warehouse, SANAA. Photo © Niccolo Morgan Gandolfi 2013

When most people think of a factory they probably imagine a mere shell to contain industrial functions and processes – devoid of any interesting architectural elements. But this is not always the case. Often factory buildings offer a chance for architects to experiment with materiality, form and structural techniques. This week arcspace is paying homage to the utilitarian by exploring the world of industrial architecture and presenting 7 defining examples that push boundaries.

Some of the following architects have chosen disrupt the expected factory architecture typology through playful and unexpected materials while others challenge conventional forms. For example, the ephemeral façade of SANAA’s Vitra Factory Building is crafted from a series of varying acrylic glass panels. These appear homogenous from a distance but the effect has an almost surreal undulating ripple up close.

Others, such as Zaha Hadid Architects, have created new typologies through the mixing of industrial and commercial ones. The BMW Plant in Leipzig, Germany, houses both industrial and administrative functions and combines them rather than segregating them. This is achieved by a large conveyor belt used in manufacturing processes that runs throughout the entire building and integrating different functions such as engineering and administration through a use of transparent materials.

Have a look at our compiled list of industrial architecture below.

Vitra Warehouse, Germany – SANAA
BMW Plant, Germany – Zaha Hadid Architects
Deepwater Woolshed, Australia – Peter Stutchbury
Renault Distribution Centre, United Kingdom – Foster and Partners
Thomson Optronics Factory, France – Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Ernstings Warehouse, Germany – Santiago Calatrava
Bodegas Protos Factory, Spain – Richard Rogers and Partners

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