Factories go back to the future
Just when we thought we’d done a good job in moving factories out of town – and latterly to countries in the East and Far East – they appear to be making a return to our cities.
Is this a good thing? Can former disused urban factories be imaginatively and efficiently reinvented – or are they inevitably destined to become high-end residential schemes? How can city councils and urban developers be persuaded to broaden their thinking from residential to include manufacturing – and make it pay?
WAN’s editor-in-chief, Michael Hammond, was recently able to pose some of these important questions to an expert on the subject, Nina Rappaport, who kindly took time out from lecturing on Adaptive Reuse at the DOCOMOMO 2016 conference in Lisbon to talk to us about her life-time project, the ‘Vertical Urban Factory’.
Nina is an architectural critic, curator, historian, educator; and a judge on this year’s WAN Awards ‘Adaptive Reuse’ category. She is a director of the influential think-tank, Vertical Urban Factory, which includes a travelling exhibition (New York, Detroit, Toronto, London, and Lausanne). Now, she has published a new 480-page book of the same name that analyses manufacturing processes, factory design, and ecological industrial urbanism.
During the interview with Michael, Nina describes some fascinating examples where manufacturing, education and research have been brought together in or near former factories, creating much needed employment as urban populations rise rapidly. One is that of the High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute near the old Ford plant in east London. Listen in to hear what’s happening there nowadays…
To purchase your own copy of Vertical Urban Factory by Actar Publishers, click here.