The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 4 (1926) > Issues > Issue 5 > The Structural Engineer as Artist Chapter V. - The Design of Factories and Industrial Works
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The Structural Engineer as Artist Chapter V. - The Design of Factories and Industrial Works

CAN factories and industrial works be beautiful, and ought we to try to make them so? Before volunteering answers to such questions it is first necessary to examine in detail some of the factors which must influence our judgment upon this matter. In the first place, it must be borne in mind that a factory is generally something which is destined to grow. Therefore the self-sufficient unity which characterises a complete work of art such as a temple or a church, cannot belong to a factory which must nearly always contain parts which are unconditioned, which must be kept, as it were, mobile and ready to expand in a variety of ways not capable of being exactly determined when the building is first planned. Thus it is wrong to expect from a factory or from industrial works in general the highest kind of organic unity. So much is obvious. Let us nextconsider what is the degree of cohesion and order which we may reasonably demand in a factory building. It is, of course, clear that a factory ought not to have the particular ornamental qualities which characterises a public building such as a church or town hall. Chimney stacks, for instance, which pretend to be like campaniles and factory halls with domes are quite absurd. The factory must have the type of beauty which properly appertains to a factory. "What is that?" it may be asked. In the first place we may say that it should at least aim at making one dominant impact upon the mind so that we may say this is one factory and not two factories. Or else, we must be able to say that this is a group of factories which together form a single architectural concept, not very highly developed, perhaps, yet having the elementary quality of unity. What a factory wants, then, is a dominant in its design which will effectively focus our attention. This dominant may assume a large number of forms, and it may quite satisfactorily fulfil its zesthetic purpose while allowing a considerable measure of freedom and even disorder in the unconditioned aggregate of structures which may be associated with it. Just as in a little village a church spire may give unity and coherence to a group of cottages scattered almost higgledy-piggledy in its neighbourhood, some principal part of a factory building or other group of industrial works may fulfil the function cf giving point and purpose to the rest of the composition. A. Trystan Edwards In discussing such a subject as that of factory designd