Nina Rappaport / Vertical Urban Factory

The Vertical Urban Factory, an independent project and exhibition curated by architectural historian and critic Nina Rappaport, was first exhibited at the Skyscraper Museum in Manhattan from January 11 to July 18, 2011. Funded in part with a research grant from New York State Council on the Arts, the exhibit explores historic and contemporary concepts for the design, structure, mechanization, and economics of multi-storied factories, and their relationship to the urban environment. The exhibition features the innovative architecture of factories that are both urban — located in cities or shaping cities — and vertical — integrated throughout a building or layered floor by floor. Included are significant examples of this architectural typology designed to house and support the production of things. Ultimately, this project focuses on the impact of global economies on the physical space of industries and aims to stimulate ideas for reintegrating the vertical factory and places of production into the urban fabric both programmatically and economically.

The exhibition demonstrates how architectural and urban design issues addressing manufacturing in cities present an exciting design challenge for integrated systems and programs. These same issues demand solutions that could garner environmental benefits and sustain job opportunities. While it is understood that some products will always be made more cheaply overseas in industrial manufacturing areas, because of low wages and tax free zones, others — such as those that relate to local markets, including perishable food processing, elevator repair companies, high-tech, fashion, and furniture — survive and thrive within cities. These staple industries, in fact, could serve to revive both communities and their factory infrastructures. If industrialists and urban planners reconsider the potential for building vertically in cities, this, in turn, would reinforce and reinvest in the cycles of making, consuming, and recycling as part of a natural feedback loop in a new sustainable urban spatial paradigm. More >>>


Northeastern University School of Architecture

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Categories: Lectures

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