IN COLLABORATION WITH JOSH KIM
Situated on the site of a former steel production facility in the former heart of the Hazelwood community in Pittsburgh, the Industrial 4.0 Studio deals with reinvesting attention on manufacturing facilities within an urban context, given the importance of industry within Pittsburgh's historical production heritage. The students were tasked with individual research projects after visiting close to a dozen manufacturing sites active in Pittsburgh today spanning between biotechnology, plastics, and electronics manufacturing. Searching for a potential client and developing programming and project intent as a result of personal inquiry, students directed design proposals from the ground up and collaborated with manufacturing partners to assess the direction the proposals would then take, all while placing desgin interventions within an established master plan for the site. For the purposes of our proposal, we focused attention on the emerging AGTECH Industry, focusing on the manufacturing of products and tech to aid new farming techniques, and utilize the tools onsite through the production of produce.
As a primer for delving into the idea of spaces for manufacturing, students read the novel Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut, and were asked to draw described scenes and spaces from imagination. Below represents the result of that thought exercise .
Following the thought exercise, students were asked to comapre and analyze precendents of manufacturing facilities throughout history, as a way to engage with a tectonic and scalar dimension for the eventual design of proposals.
RESEARCH, INQUIRY and SITE:
As a result of precedent research, as well as on site trips to manufacturing leaders in the city, the studio as a whole delved into the representation of what defines a factory in the 21rst century, and how to develop prompts for future proposals that align with contemporary trends in manufacturing, as well as how the factory has been represented over time historically. In addressing this, the group also narrowed scope into the site into which our manufacturing proposals were to be based. Content was drawn and complied into a singular research document, outlining the scope of coverage, as well as information on the site; the Hazelwood Green Master Plan designed by Perkins and Will.
GROUP RESEARCH PRESENTATION: Precedent, Site, and Trends in Manufacturing
HAZELWOOD HORIZONS AGTECH: The Concept and Conceptual Programming
The following presentation was used to desrcibe the research prompt that drove the programming of the project. It identitfies the Agtech Sector as supported and defined set of initiatives in which a contemporary start up landscape has been established. In addition it places the technologies intneded to be developed as part of Agtech Initiatives within a contemporary timeline, and establishes when these tools will reach market viability. Finally the presentation established why Pittsburgh would be an ideal city to situate a vertically integrated Tech and Produce facility, given its issues with growing food organically, and its proximity to river transport.
In defining our research prompt as a manufacturing facility servicing the Agtech Sector, firstly we began by mapping underlying elements of program, understanding the types of products the facility was to produce, and attempted to relate them with sensitivity to the Perkins and Will Master Plan that was serving as the armature for the project context. Through this process we identified key components to our manufacturing design.
Firstly A Manufacturing and Fabrication Facility for the creation of tools, robotic technologies and made to order farm shells, which required space for the processing of plastics, metals, and 3d pritned components. Second, a Nutrient and Fertilizer Processing Plant, for the creation of plant specific nutrient solutions that are intended to be sold as a commercially viable product for consumer and industrial uses, specifically tailored to major crop needs. Third, an Office and Laboratory sector, where new analytics software and electronic hardware are tested in house as ways to improve products into the future. Lastly, Vertical Urban Agricultural facilities that utilize the tools and products produced below and showcase their merits to the public.
Taking control of the parcels adjacent to the historic Mill 19 Building, we aim with the project to alter the relationship between the factory and the urban realm. Traditionally, industrial parks take up large lots of land and restrict public access to the property and to the rivers on which many are located, which is also reflected in the P+W Master plan as well. With our facility we propose moving the majority under the earth thus allowing the public to reclaim from the Historic Mill to the Riverfront, thus preserving the view of the Mill as an historic object, while also utilizing the earth as a heat sink to offset energy consumption needs. Finally to harken back to the production heritage of the site, new vertical grow chimneys serve as the visible symbol of the factory rising once again attaching to the Mill like the smokestacks of old and showcasing new produce production; serving as symbols for a new sustainable future emitting steam and light, as opposed to the soot and ash.
SITE PLANNING STRATEGY:
With the program ascertained, the next step was to parti how the elements of the factory were to be organized on the site in a way that was sensitive the the existing P+W Master Plan. Given the three parcel allotment next to Mill 19, we choose to compartmentalize our facility into three main zones under the ground, reserving the northern most parcels for production and the southern most for office and research, as reflected in the existing plan. These zones become connected through an assembly line that connects the fabrication and nutrient facility together, to then ship products to dispatch and test in the Mill Building itself. Thus above ground, all of the space that could have been occupied with the facility become open available public park, with transverse seams called the "Green Belts" serving to connect the public with the Riverfront, which bridges over the site in order to allow enough clear height to pass the active rail line seperating the park from the riverfront.
From the abstract the spatial programming was fitted and sized according to the constraints of the parcels ordained by the Master Plan, thus defining the final spatial parti of the facility.
HAZELWOOD HORIZONS AGTECH: THE ARCHITECTURE
The final solution involved utilizing the roofscape of the factory below to describe partially elevated occupiable public decks. Ferris wheels serve to lift the public to the skydecks in 2 of the vertical towers, and also transport materials for dispatch along the elevated greenbelts to the riverfront for barge transit. The factory below gains access to the landscape through sculpted terraces which reveal the western faces of most of the worker amenity spaces, thus creating a relationship between the more public-ally accessible parts of the complex and the workers themselves, who by happenstance may meet on these terraces. Slight alteration in material on the groundscape indicated area for events, main circulation or permanent stations of activity such as food trucks and stages, while the remaining greenscape retains room for sports amenities such as tennis and basketball courts.
The main office space emerges out of the land and greets the public through actuvation in the large public Mill Plaza space, as ordained by the P+W master plan. As a result, the parkscape created by the factory connects and stitches together with this plaza space, thus creating a a wrapper of green around the historical Mill 19 Building, which is repurposed with a communinty training center, and main dispatch point for the products produced below ground.
3 ZONES: NUTRIENT:FABRICATION:OFFICE
Serving as the the beacon for the new facility, the Vertical Grow Chimeny's intend to recall the historical past of the site, replacing the image of the smokestacks that once served Mill 19, and housing space to utilize the manufactured robotic and sensing tools to cultivate and harvest produce through aeroponic and hydroponic methods. Produce is conveyed through the rear facing core, which sends the food to processing floors where pruning occurs. From there the plants are sent to ground level, where excess bio matter is chopped and recycled to pump back into the Nutrient Facility as raw inputs. Additionally these towers serve as community vantage points, where the ferris wheels drop memebrs off to specific public floors, where the public can view out to downtown and Oakland, all while being exposed to 21rst century farming techniques.
In performative means, the rear core also houses major exhaust shafts that connect the towers to the main manufacturing facility underground, where capitalizing on stack effect, the force of the exhaust and steam is anticipated to drive fans to generate electrical current to offset energy demands on the facility.