Faced with the challenge of unlocking development on a former industrial site in Vienna, we proposed a new architectural typology beyond the twentieth century segregation of industrial land from city life. Our Smart Block proposition grows from the recognition that the emergence and convergence of complex new materials, processes and technologies – such as the IoT, automation and robotics, big data analytics, 3D printing and clean energy – is increasingly shaping growth and employment in cities as well as disrupting traditional localization and typology of productive facilities.
Smart Block responds to this demand by clustering innovators, machines, energy, data and transport in one place while transforming the perception of contemporary production through the innovative architectural resolution of its envelope. This is not only necessary in terms of public acceptance, which leads to real estate value, but also for architecture to adequately reflect and attract the lifestyles of its future users.
Our design for the building frame and envelope actively control increased structural loads, fluid dynamics and environmental exchanges while enabling the transformation of spaces and perceptions. Smart Block is not just about what happens within the structure in is a response to how we build in cities and what materials we build with. An automated unitary material logic will enable components and processes used in erecting and updating Smart Block to be formed from composite materials including fibre reinforced plastics.