Shanghai 2025: The Regeneration of the Traditional Manufacturing Block


The ongoing shift of industry 4.0 brings the revolution to traditional Chinese manufacturing. In 2015, China charted out a 300 billion plan to become nearly self-sufficient by 2025 in a range of important industries. Our thesis aims to find new forms of factory building adapting the industrial technology trends in Chinese developed cities.
Starting with mapping the industrial heritages of Shanghai, we found the site located in old city center which struck us with its surrounding of traditional cultural heritage, and also next to a traditional manufacturing and commercial street, which means the area contains a huge potential in business. The traditional handmade art crafts used to be a main breadwinner for the local people, but now it becomes just handicraft known by few old folks. So we come up the idea of utilizing the new technology to reactive the traditional artworks, creating new kind of factory blocks mixed with different function space of manufacturing, selling, living , shipping and recreation.
Surrounding by the tourism traditional business streets, all the ground floor is designed to be open with non-stopping walking grid to return the spatial feeling of traditional alley and increase the commercial facade. The inner part is located the open market in which the goods produced inside the blocks can be sold. We take the reference of the fluent space of Aldo Van Eyck, with this flexible and transparent identity , we break the main factory floors to several flowing inner layers so that the process of manufacturing can be an important visual effects in our project to share the knowledge and experience. This main idea are used in the main 4 types of factory units which are combined with different function and space according to the site environment.

The Chinese young people nowadays is high on new trends, we bring this chance for them to understand and protect the traditional culture. With the benefit of advanced technology, everyone could be the artist to deign their own masterpieces.

Conceptual Render Robotic fabrication, reactive traditional artcrafts by new technology.

The north blocks are shops to continue the existing commercial street, the south blocks are designed as open gate to the main residential area in our site. The inner part is located the open market in which the goods produced inside the blocks can be sold, which we take the reference of the fluent space of Aldo Van Eyck. And this flexible and transparent identity we also applied into our factory space as a main design idea.


What prompted the project?

By chance I read  and was instantly inspired by the research work of my mentor Ivica Ivo Covic with regards to industry 4.0. Contemporraily China’s 2025 policy and its’ focus on industrial transformation prompted me to research Chinese local industrial cities which cater to this trend.

What defined the language of representation of the project? How important are the plan and section?

Our idea for the new factory was to create a fluent and transparent space which present ed the process of production. In this way, we see the function of manufacturing as something inherently tied to the public. We took references as Aldo Van Eyck ‘s pavilion  and its very free an flexible plan to shape our own public ground floor with dispersed and homogeneous blocks. An approach which surprisingly could also be used tin the section to break between the floors in order to achieve a better vision. In conclusion the public space is fragmented both vertically and horizontally allowing for greater transparency and flexibility.

What’s more, within the conceptual stage of the project, we explored the medium of the section to experiment with a combination of manufacturing space and other function s like housing, commercial spaces and so on.

What role do the collages play? How do the silhouettes inform the use and atmosphere of the space?

The medium of collage is something I learned at Politecnico. It is a valuable tool in that it can instantly reveal the design idea by combining and distancing images to each other. Collages are usually quick to make made and are inherently abstract allowing me to quickly draft atmospheric scenarios of my intentions..

How important was the render as tool through which to develop the project rather than as final product?

Compared to the more technical drawings, renders show the space and atmosphere more directly as well as revealing other elements as material , shadow or the light..

What dictated the various instances through which you reveal the intervention?

Different drawings act as different introductions different aspects of the project. For example, the ground floor plan and axonometric are great tools for exploring the relation between the site and project while collages and renders are more used to describe the activities and space.

What defined the use of the colour blu? What is your take on colour?

When I was drawing the 1:50 detail section I found there were too many elements like the detail material layers or the robot activities. I then chose to simplify the process by using one single color for the outcome. Yves Klein and his blue were instantly drew me to use the hue in addition to a respect for painting from Picasso’s Periodo Azul.