Conflating Industries

Advancements in digital and information-based economies have fostered the transition from large-scale industry to local, shared means of production. The volatility of these shifts requires adaptable handling of more diverse processing, transferring and manufacturing. With the advent of digital industries–global networks, cloud-sourced data, and heterogeneous production and fabrication–an adaptive design solution that transforms industrial remnants will provide relief from economic pressure.

The mechanisms of the industrial era–grain silos, shipping piers, power plants, etc–are a functional architecture that accommodate specific purposes. Due to fluctuations in economic and urban behavior, these structures often become outdated and dilapidated. Their future is reduced to two paths, preservation or demolition. However, industrial structures could provide far more intensive and extensive potential for conveying new forms of urban production. Industries including renewable energy generation, data storage, 3D and robotic manufacturing, and small-scale, urban farming could be adapted to these structures. By preserving their functional integrity and embodied energies, it is possible to adapt the logic of these buildings to serve in the emerging industries of the digital era.