The Factory | Designing for Industrial Processes
Industry has a bad reputation in Asia. There are too-frequent reports of compromised safety and unconscionable pollution at factories and industrial parks. The collapse of a garment factory in Dhaka in April this year was a startling example of what can go wrong when common sense and decency give way to profit and expediency. Elsewhere, industrial production has had a profoundly negative impact on people, not just the ones inside the development but also the public at large. True, industry brings in jobs and raises GDP but at what expense?
In this issue we find that Asia is not without its share of the well-tempered industrial building. MAS Intimates Thurulie in Sri Lanka produces garments, like the one in Dhaka. It however goes beyond obligations of safety or LEED certification. The goal was to create a humane work environment, and to render a genteel ecological touch on the project site. Tony’s Farm is a food packaging and storage hub, part of an organic farm near Shanghai. The use of shipping containers and recycled materials speaks of another layer of environmental activism. Like MAS Intimates Thurulie, we see an infusion of light and air into the core of its architecture.
A Simple Factory Building does the same in Singapore, only without the luxury of a sprawling site. With tight voids and wraparound brise-soleil, this is an intricate and poetic ode to the climate of the tropics. Who would protest having this factory in their backyard?
This issue also features examples of corporate socialism. A steel producer in India builds the cleanest city of the sub-continent. Imagine that. Life for residents of Jamshedpur became better, not worse, for having heavy industry in their midst. The town, now entering its 11th decade, is held up as a beacon of corporate social responsibility. It should be said that it wasn’t just about corporate social responsibility. Jamshedpur is a product of a socialist era of India’s political past. In the early 20th century, when the town was built, the country had not yet opened up to global flow of capital and goods. Since the 1990s, when India finally plugged in, there have been no new Jamshedpurs. Click here to read more.
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