Work and the workplace are changing. Cities, governments, and multinational companies are becoming more creative, flexible, and innovative. The world’s leading economies are transitioning from the productions of goods to the production of ideas. As architects and allied design professionals, accustomed to manifesting the physical environment of our cities and workplaces, how are we to make the transition to producing the architecture and infrastructure that facilitate the production of ideas?
Perhaps not so ironically, we find ourselves presently positioned someplace in between those two scenarios. The concept of work in leading economies is not that of physical labor, or the production a particular unit or component - we program machines to perform those tasks. Today, we’re necessary to produce ideas; without our instruction, the machines would sit idly by, motionless. What if these technological entities we’ve created acquire cognitive capabilities? If the concept of the Technological Singularity becomes reality, what will be our role in the making of our future? Will we be replaced entirely? Will we and our new ‘co-workers’ become collaborators in yet another type of workplace driven by network and infrastructure?
The factory for thought and innovation arose at the beginning of the 21st century as a reaction against global capitalistic notions of production which had since the late 19th century been dominated by the Taylorist ideology of unit production. A schism between the manufacture of products versus that of ideas and its relation to capitalistic control standards of unit production pricing caused a breakdown of how value was assigned to `outputs’. The introduction of machines for thought after the crisis of 2008 initiated the advent of production related to thought and sought a metric of which to assign value to ideas over production. This propelled a shift in the way which factories were organized and operated. Early factories that contained linear machinery assembly methods of physical production alone quickly became antiquated models.
Innovation doesn’t want a building, innovation demands infrastructure.
The exterior of the building is complex and episodic; perhaps growing outside of it’s perceived borders and suggesting the manifold character of the interior spaces; mechanistic. Some spaces privilege the user, some the machines, some struggle to accommodate both, some simply do not care.
Native to the thought factory are its machines for innovation. The machines within the factory work continually, both day and night. Collectively they serve the factory; some producing, some upgrading, some maintaining the various aspect that the factory requires to continue to innovation. Individually they service the users, whom migrated in and out of the factory, and supply the thoughts. Each of the machines within the factory serve a primary purpose of furthering innovation. In order to achieve this goal, the factory assigns a higher value to `thinking’, than that of production. The current factory catalog curates machines for: communication, exploration, contemplation, collaboration, serendipity, and isolation.
Posted by: UNStudio / Imola Berczi
Team: Jason Hoeft, Mark Rukamathu, Ben van Berkel, Imola Berczi