The grey collar factory is the architectural response to the shift from manual labour to automation. Clean machines, mobile transport robots, and employees equipped with tablet PCs, this is what the future of manufacturing will look like. But despite robots that perform their tasks autonomously, there will still be an important role for humans in the factory of the future. Because there is one thing that computers will still be unable to do, decide which solution is best, respond to unanticipated events and come up with ideas based on experience. Traditionally, workers have been lumped into broad categories of blue and white – collar workers. Blue collar workers are largely responsible for running the machines while white - collar workers are typically engineers and managers. In the factory of the future, the grey - collar worker will have to not only operate the machines but also interpret complex data and work together with management. What are the architectural consequences of the merge of the roles of the production worker with the knowledge worker? How does this social transformation and these decentralized, internet - based production processes influence the space of the factory?
The Grey Collar Factory is a three dimensional field that aims to subvert the social hierarchy of factory workers. Workers who are not expected to work manually but are required to think and take decisions. Workers who will be at one moment next to a production cell and the next presenting at a meeting to colleagues. The aim for this project was to respond to a technologic and social shift and the Grey Collar Factory embodies this into an architectural type which performs not only through its primary form but also through the detailed design of the surface itself. The envelope is the Grey – Collar Factory, a continuous object which allows all production processes, programs, activities and the worker to orbit through its geometry.
The distortions seen on the Factory's topology act as places of relief from the relentless grid of production, providing the factory with social hubs for its workers.
The Grey - Collar worker can perform quality checks on products, assign robots to different assembly lines and check their performance.
The envelope of the Grey - Collar Factory performs toward connectivity, light, structure and visual connection between the worker and production.
Through the gridded programmatic organization of production the surface is transformed into a continuous modular surface.
The Grey - Collar Factory will be assembled rather than constructed, using the same automated technology as in car manufacturing.
Reception of materials, workers and visitors.