Chain Factory, Chain Living

Project

The project explores the possibility of creating a chained textile factory along side housing in existing urban fabric. The design critiques on the work/live condition in Changsin-dong of Seoul, and explores the possibility of putting factory together with living, while not compromising the quality of life, as inspired by William Morris’s ‘A Factory as it might be’.

Design Intent

The project raises a critique on the contemporary view of work as compensatory toil rather than self-fulfillment and pleasure. The current work/live situation in Changsin-dong is worse. Self-employed units work in underdog conditions, where working and living are merely the same place. At the same time, these individuals are losing their textile business to cheaper sources like Vietnam, China, etc. In view of this, we take this as an opportunity to overturn the current losing battle, by implanting other major processes of the textile industry into the urban fabric, so that self-employed units can gear up and form larger community. By forming a chained system, they don’t have to outsource various processes away, hence saving cost of production. The factory moves away from operations of conformity by manufacturing bespoke clothing in an attempt to re-engage craftsmanship with contemporary technologies. Housing is also implemented for these workers, as a realization of what socialist William Morris has written, where factory is not a place of torment, but a place to live, learn and play. Workers are recognized because of their craftwork.

Three Parameters

Six major processes of textile industry, together with six styles of living, and six urban strategies formed the design framework. These six prototypes are arranged from highest to lowest in the urban landscape, with the highest as the starting point of the chain factory. Bridges are created to link these prototypes, creating circulation in between, while also providing change in gradients for public programs.

Six prototypes

Each space is tailored to bespoke stages of the needs of workers and their production processes. The first prototype uphill is the Fabric Lab, targeted for textile analysts and makers. Housing units are cantilevered outside shear walls for maximum sunlight, leaving lab space inside for a more shaded working space. The second in the order is a design studio, targeted for fashion designers. Large space with high ceiling is provided for multi-functional purpose, in compromise for a smaller room, services like bathrooms and kitchens are arranged like a wall shared by everyone. The third in the chain is for production process, such as sewing, dyeing, and ironing of clothes, targeted for elderly couples. Walls are arranged in stacking tubes, which become structure itself and signifies circulation of goods. Housing are inserted like modules into the gaps. Large spaces carved out are for recreation. The forth one is a showroom for businessmen and art curators. Structural walls with different parts carved out forms visual corridors – enfilades that guide circulation and provide a feast of view of different programs and fashion archive embedded. The fifth one is a delivery center, targeting bachelors. Ramps are designed to allow mopeds reaching each floor, so that couriers can reach their home without changing means of transport. Last but not least, the lowest one is the retail section, targeting younger couples. It also serves as an internal shopping street for attracting pedestrian uphill to the bridge.

Linkage between prototypes

Pedestrian-oriented bridges are formed as an output of the different height of prototypes. It is open to the neighborhood for circulation. It also worked as a social condenser by the use of gradient for different program such as theatre, green belt, galleries, etc. It promotes the interaction between neighborhoods and encourages encounters in the public space that vary in programs.

Interview

Who influences you graphically?

OMA, David Chipperfield, Steven Holl

In addition to the conceptual work of William Morris what other sources did you look to?

We also gathered first hand information from the textile workers in Changsin-Dong. We realized that the current work/live situation is worse. Self-employed units work in underdog conditions, where working and living are merely the same place. At the same time, these individuals are losing their textile business to cheaper sources like Vietnam, China, etc. In view of this, we take this as an opportunity to overturn the current losing battle, by implanting other major processes of the textile industry into the urban fabric, so that self-employed units can gear up and form larger community. By forming a chained system, they don’t have to outsource various processes away, hence saving cost of production. The factory moves away from operations of conformity by manufacturing bespoke clothing to re-engage craftsmanship with contemporary technologies. Housing is also implemented for these workers, as a realization of what socialist William Morris has written, where factory is not a place of torment, but a place to live, learn and play. Workers are recognized because of their craftwork.

What defined the changing season landscape through which you reveal the proposal? What is the effect and purpose for this?

We have been to the place in different times of the year, and realized the changing season has been part of the living. Hence, we hope our design can be part of it, and merges into the lives of people there.

What is the role of colour in the cutout axonometric?

It relates to how we perceive the site. The urban fabric is as diverse as the colour indicates, and the design will be an addition of the existing diversity.

How important were the section and plan?

We take the idea of a ‘chain’ very seriously, and try to convey it in the section and plan. We do not simply look for a ‘chain’ in physical form, but also the formation of a system, an ecology that can be growing among the city fabric.

How important were the various models as design tools?

They are to be seen as a sequence of thoughts. These models serve as specimens and transcripts recording our thoughts at different periods of time, from concepts to design development. They also become motives to generate the design.

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