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FABRICATION TOWER Sarah Durkin

Barch Thesis

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THESIS

Fabrication Tower Furniture factory in downtown Chicago, IL Examines how the program of the factory can be re-inserted into the urban fabric when reinterpreted within the typological condition of the office tower. Since the mid-20th century, industry has shifted away from city centers, first to edges and suburbs, then to other shores. Factories, or places of making, shaping, and assembling things are what once composed the landscape of the city. As a building type the factory provided a freedom to explore spatial, structural, and organizational consequences that machines and production placed on vertical systems. The office tower typology acts as the testing ground for the future vertical factory within the city. By vertically stitching together the processes of design and manufacturing, the fabrication tower explores the impact that production has on shaping the urban landscape. This acts as a means to reinforce and reinvest in the cycles of making, consuming, and recycling for sustainable and self-sufficient cities.

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SITE PLAN

SCALE: 1/64” =1 64’

32’

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128’


PROJECT SITE: MASTERPLAN Located at the confluence of the Chicago River, the project site is a neighbor to the Chicago Sun Times and Merchandise Mart. A large plaza that spans from Merchandise Mart Drive leads the public into a small cafe and three floors of retail space within the building. The plaza and outdoor area surrounding the cafe terraces down to the waterfront. A large space for delivery and material access is located on the northwest corner of the building. There is a drop-off for employees to the southwest which is adjacent to a public dock and waterfront park space.

SITE CIRCULATION SKETCH

AERIAL VIEW OF PROJECT SITE

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PARTI SECTION DIAGRAM

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PROGRAM AND PROCESS: DISTRIBUTION PLANNING Spatially and programmatically the building is organized so that design and fabrication happen simultaneously throughout, and are in constant collaboration with one another. Design and fabrication oscillate around a large central atrium space containing a vertical assembly line. There are ten overall design and assembly steps to the process that are made possible by a series of platforms. A horizontal loop is taken at each level, or stage, that contributes to the main vertical flow of the fabrication process. CONCEPTUAL FLOOR PLANS

CAFE CUTTING / BENDING MATERIAL STORAGE

LOBBY

RETAIL

GROUND FLOOR: LOBBY AND DELIVERY

RETAIL

RETAIL

2nd FLOOR: RETAIL AND CAFE

3rd FLOOR: CUTTING / BENDING WOOD AND RETAIL

RETAIL

4th FLOOR: RETAIL

PRODUCTION PLANNING

PART SORTING MATERIAL LIBRARY

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

CONCEPT DESIGN

6th FLOOR: CONCEPT DESIGN AND MATERIAL LIBRARY

FINISH DESIGN

7th FLOOR: PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND PART SORTING

9th FLOOR: PRODUCTION PLANNING AND ASSEMBLY

FABRIC DESIGN

12th FLOOR: FINISHING DESIGN

13th FLOOR: FABRIC DESIGN, CUTTING FABRIC, AND SEWING

INSPECTION TEAM

INSPECTION TEAM

17th FLOOR: INSPECTION TEAM AND FINAL INSPECTION

14th FLOOR: FABRIC DESIGN

PACKAGE DESIGN

PACKAGING

INSPECTION

16th FLOOR: MARKETING

ASSEMBLY

CUTTING FABRIC / SEWING

FINISH APPLIED

MARKETING

8th FLOOR: PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

FABRIC DESIGN

FINISH DESIGN

11th FLOOR: FINISHING DESIGN AND FINISHES APPLIED

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

18th FLOOR: INSPECTION TEAM OFFICE

19th FLOOR: PACKAGE DESIGN AND PACKAGING

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SECTION LOOKING NORTH

SCALE: 1” = 20’ 20’

10’

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40’


VERTICAL ASSEMBLY LINE: THE PLATFORM Production is able to ascend from bottom to top by means of the system of platforms that transfer materials from one stage to the next. These allow the process to become increasingly light-weight as assembly moves upward. The center of the building becomes a theatrical showcase of the process of design and making to the public and those that work there. The public gets a glimpse into the initial stages of the process by viewing raw materials that are placed on the first platform and taken up to the wood shop on the second level.

AXON DETAIL OF PLATFORM (VERTICAL ASSEMBLY LINE)

VERTICAL ASSEMBLY LINE SKETCH AND DIAGRAM

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AXONOMETRIC SECTION

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FORM VERSUS FUNCTION: ENCLOSURE A tug of war exists between the early stages of functional planning with creating a cohesive, iconic structure. The initial form was derived from stacking the purely functional and programmatic floor plans. Four overall volumes to enclose the main components of the building were then created. Heavy machinery along with public space is contained on the first few levels. Initial stages of design and material testing make up the second volume above. The third, or the large cantilever, holds the main components of construction and assembly space. Finally, the fourth volume contains space for marketing and showcase events. Formally, these moves allow for smaller office atrium spaces to exist on the exterior.

VERTICAL ASSEMBLY LINE VERTICAL THE PLATFORM ASSEMBLY THE PLATFORM

LINE

AXON DIAGRAM OF FUNCTION AND DISTRIBUTION

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SOUTH ELEVATION

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REVEAL OF ASSEMBLY PROCESS: FACADE A vertical louver system which reacts to programmatic function within the tower serves as the main component of the facade. Office spaces are more opaque while moments of transparency reveal key stages in the assembly process to the public. A view from south of the river illustrates how the facade reveals changes in program on the exterior. To the west is a private entrance for the main lobby. On the east, a large plaza connected to Merchandise Mart creates a public entrance to a cafe and three floors of retail on the lower levels. SKETCH OF SOUTH FACADE

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EAST ELEVATION

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REVEAL OF ASSEMBLY PROCESS: FACADE A vertical moment of transparency in the facade allows for a sliver of the assembly line to be exposed to the city. Various platforms can be seen as they ascend upward. A series of freight elevators are exposed to reveal finished products to the public that are being sold and shipped.

SKETCH OF EAST FACADE

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EXTERIOR NIGHT RENDER

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THE URBAN LANDSCAPE: AN ICON By vertically stitching together the processes of design and manufacturing, the fabrication tower explores the impact that production has on shaping the urban landscape. The building and assembly process hold a true iconic presence in the city. There is a great potential to be a catalyst for bringing clean manufacturing to the downtown area, as well as an opportunity to engage the public in the process.

EXTERIOR RENDER LOOKING TOWARDS LAKE MICHIGAN

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Sarah Durkin Barch Thesis