Factory Architecture: See 7 Unusual Industrial Plants

Their designers and owners are environmentally aware

Many plants look alike, but some of them are real masterpieces that have evolved from ordinary businesses into tourist attractions.

Shock work

Louisville, USA

Factory architecture: look at 7 unusual industrial enterprises

The Louisville baseball factory greets visitors with a huge 36-meter (three to four floors above the roof) bat at the entrance. This world's largest baseball bat looks like wood, but it's made of metal. It is an enlarged copy of the one used by Babe Ruth, the American baseball star of the 20th century. Supplying bats to famous players has been a long tradition of the Hillerich family, the founders of the business. The factory has a unique museum with 3,000 original beats of the winners.

Water treatments

Great Britain, Woking

Factory architecture: look at 7 unusual industrial plants

The main building of the McLaren Technology Centre, which produces supercars for Formula 1, with the letter Cinscribed in a round artificial reservoir and together with it forms something like a yin-yang symbol.

The author of the project is the British modernist Norman Foster. The technology center is surrounded by four more lakes. Water from them through a series of heat exchangers cools the premises of the plant and dissipates the heat produced by the wind tunnels. For employees inside there is a restaurant with 700 seats, a bar, a swimming pool and a fitness center. The building is low, so it blends in with the surrounding green landscape.

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And wearing a hat

Austria, Vienna

Factory architecture: look at 7 unusual industrial plants

The Spittelau waste incinerator building, built in 1971, was completely renovated in 1987 with the active participation of the architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. He designed the plant in his fantastically bright manner: broken tiles, colorful colors, asymmetry, towers with golden balls. It is believed that the builders “hung” a hat-like pommel on the pipe after hearing the architect rudely say goodbye to someone: “I'm putting on a hat!”

Hundertwasser was reluctant to take on the job until he was sure that the building would be designed to avoid air pollution as much as possible. Since 1989, the plant has been operating a system for the destruction of dioxins. The generated energy is enough to heat 60,000 Viennese apartments.

To the city and the world

Germany, Wolfsburg

Factory Architecture: Look at 7 Unusual Industrial Plants

Volkswagen's Wolfsburg Plant was built in 1938. It was located on the banks of the longest waterway in Germany – the Middle German Canal, opened in the same year. Around the plant, in fact, the city of Wolfsburg grew. The area of ​​u200bu200bthe enterprise is 6.5 km². This is more than three Monaco. The plant is still the largest in the world. Two local generators supply heat to the entire city. By 2025 Volkswagenaims to reduce environmental impact by 38% compared to 2010.

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Solar Circle

Poland, Slubice

Factory Architecture: See 7 Unusual Industrial Plants

Germany-based FRABA specializes in sensor manufacturing. The building of its Polish branch from the outside is like a flat tablet with a diameter of 52 meters, inside it is a complex system of steel columns and beams supporting the ceiling of insulated plywood. On the roof there are triangular light domes, thanks to which the interior space is naturally illuminated.

The building was built in such a way as to ensure the most comfortable temperature conditions of the interior. The practical round shape makes it energy-intensive and requires fewer materials than a rectangular one.

Oil house

Chile, Colchagua

Olisur Olive Oil Factory is located in the middle of a large olive plantation, 200 km south of Santiago. The building, simple in plan, is similar to the houses of Chileans scattered along the coast, therefore it organically fits into the local culture and nature. Natural ventilation and light are used. Oil production wastes – the pulp and bones of olives – are applied to the soil as fertilizers. The irrigation system is powered by solar panels.

The company aims to achieve zero carbon footprint through resource stewardship, material reuse and (reducing, reusing & recycling). The factory has received many awards for sustainable production.

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Slide down the roof

Denmark, Copenhagen

Factory Architecture: See 7 Quirky Industrial Plants

The 45° Copenhill ski slope is open on top of the Amager Bakke incinerator. Belt and cable lifts are brought upstairs, as well as a glass elevator, from which you can see the plant from the inside. The 450-meter-long slope is covered with artificial snow, 100 skiers can ski here at the same time.

Isn't it harmful for them to breathe the local air? The creators of the complex assure that everything is environmentally friendly. Production is organized in such a way as to minimize emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur. Energy is used to heat and power homes, and ash replaces gravel in road construction.


Material published in the magazine “Around the World” No. 1, February 2021, partially updated in July 2023

Svyatoslav Zelensky

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