What are industrial architecture’s concepts, and what is the role of architects in the renovation of brownfields?

A general term used to define construction that is built to respond to the needs of industrial aspects, the architecture of industry includes a group of construction styles and types that combine many designs and functionality in the world of industry.

These types are designed around the specialized systems, processes, equipment, and safety considerations of workers in manufacturing, processing, power generation and other industrial activities, industrial architecture include factories, warehouses, foundries, steel plants, water towers, grain silos, distilleries, breweries, refineries, power plants and many other structures.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the first industrial construction was built, during the first revolution of industry, located mainly in Great Britain between 1760 and 1830. However, today when we refer to industrial architecture we are mainly referring to buildings that emerged in response to the widespread use of new materials such as metal and concrete as well as mass production methods brought by the second industrial revolution of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

This new style of architecture was built to respond to the needs of industries dedicated to transforming raw materials into finished products in the most efficient way possible. Builders and architects have been forced to take into account individual production processes and workflows as well as worker safety concerns.

The architecture of industry gives priority to functional aspects and engineering, but it does not give much importance to the artistic sense, instead of this, it is uninspired and tasteless but the architecture of industry also can be beautiful.

The United States and Western Europe have become more and more post-industrial, with the service sector being a more important engine of the economy.

Many developers have found ways to turn disused industrial buildings into trendy apartments, coworking spaces, open-plan office layouts, and event spaces. The challenge for architects and interior designers today is to create a raw space with its large volumes, huge windows and open floor plans suited to the way we work and live today.

Cultural Center – Beijing

Technologies and robotics often require that existing industrial buildings be modified to accommodate changing user needs and new industrial architecture innovation. As the world battles a climate emergency caused in large part by carbon emissions generated by buildings, there is a growing movement towards existing buildings to demand greener building standards and practices for new ones with intelligent use of energy to reduce consumption.

A notable example of 21st-century in the world of industrial architecture is CopenHill in Copenhagen, Denmark, which describes itself as “the cleanest power station in the world”. Designed as a public space, it features a facade designed for climbing, a roof you can walk on and a real ski slope.

CopenHill building – Copenhagen , Danemark.

Industrial architecture takes many forms, but some common characteristics include :

  • Combination of functionality and design
  • Large open floor plans
  • High ceilings
  • Use of raw materials such as concrete, brick, metal
  • Lack of ornamentation on the facade of the building
  • Large metal grid windows

Industrial-style architecture and interior design have become all trendy in recent years, the world’s abandoned warehouses being converted into trendy lofts, office spaces, cafes, restaurants and hotels. Today, you don’t have to look far to see the influence of industrial architecture and design, even in less industrial settings, with the use of raw materials.

One of the masterpieces in the world of industrial architecture is the 1931 ford motor company assembly building in Richmond California, it was designed by Albert Kahn the famous industrial architect. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988, it was damaged from the earthquake but it was successfully rehabilitated into office space and a cultural center for mixed-use with solar energy.

ford motor assembly factory, Richmond, California – USA