By Miles Hartog
In previous articles we’ve discussed primarily residential architecture, but there’s a lot more to architecture than just designing the places we live. Over the years I’ve spent my time designing yeshivas, commercial projects, hotels, residential complexes, private residences and industrial buildings. Each has its own challenges and its own rewards.
Industrial buildings can be built either for specific industries and processes, or as more generic buildings for rental purposes.
Buildings for specific industries are both interesting and challenging. Whether for cosmetics, metalworking, agriculture or the food industry, each has a dedicated process to take in raw materials and manufacture a finished product. That process must be understood, broken down, and translated into a floor plan. Intake areas must be defined for delivery of materials; and reception rooms must be designed for intake, review and distribution. Storage areas must be designated, with appropriate connections to the various departments. Work areas must be located to turn the raw product into a finished item. In many cases, a research and development section of the building will be separate from the main flow, though it is an integral part of the overall operation. After the product is ready, it needs to be packaged, stored, and finally made ready for distribution.
The industrial building is also a workplace. People spend long hours of their day there, and will need both the basic amenities and the sense of place that will make their workday comfortable, enjoyable and productive. This can start from functional elements such as lockers, showers and dining rooms, but that’s not enough. A comfortable rest area, a place to sit outdoors, a picnic bench, some shade—perhaps even a water element—can make rest time much more pleasant and restorative, and employees will feel more appreciated with these extra touches.
Beyond these issues, industrial buildings are unique because of their materials and construction methods. While your home may be built block by block or covered in stone, often an industrial building will need to have large spans, requiring either a lightweight roof or prestressed concrete beams. The distances between walls and columns need to be greater to increase usable, obstruction-free areas. Openings need to be large and allow passage of service vehicles and forklifts. The construction system is usually chosen for speed of implementation, to allow the owner to have his factory up and running as soon as possible.
Also of primary importance in industrial buildings are the building systems such as gas, compressed air, oil, drainage, smoke extraction, clean room technology, cranes, painting systems, electrical power, etc. Each industry has its own demands, but the emphasis is on practicality and ease of access, with aesthetics taking back seat. While the systems should be orderly, they need to be either fully exposed or quickly accessible in order to ensure ease of use and maintenance, as well as to allow additions and changes to the infrastructure as needed by the industry.
Most factories are associated with an office wing, which often shows the more presentable side of the building to the outside world, accepting visitors and providing a workspace for the management team and those less involved with the nuts and bolts: sales and marketing, logistics, human resources and senior management.
All in all, industrial buildings challenge the architect to create a highly efficient (and cost-effective) workspace that is also a pleasant place for employees to spend significant portions of their day, and constitutes a good first impression of the company. With the right touch, the building can also evoke something of the spirit of the industrial enterprise it was built to serve.
ABOUT MILES HARTOG
Miles was born and raised in Sydney, Australia with a short spell in the UK. He started his architecture degree in Sydney and completed it in Israel at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. Miles has been working in the field of architecture in Israel and overseas since 1992. His 25 years of experience has provided Miles with an extremely broad palette for design and problem solving which he now apples to every project large or small.
Miles can be reached at 054-436-4492 or through his websitewww.mileshartog.com