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Industrial Buildings


INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS It was not until the World War that architects and engineers had given to this class of building any special study and the out come of their efforts has resulted in increased production and better working conditions for the operatives. An increase in the interest in factories from the international standpoint has accrued by the fact that a great number of firms are setting up factories in countries to which they are foreign. This building abroad has been caused by the duties levied on imported articles and has had a tendency to make the industrial building a very standardized structure.

Whilst it is not possible to lay down rules applicable to all countries because building work is always governed by local restrictions such as climatic conditions, materials, national char acteristics and resources, industrial buildings may be divided into two classes, the one-storey building and the multi-storey build ing. Most large factories embody in their sequence of manufac ture both these types, the heavy components being allocated to the one-storey buildings, and the lighter to the multi-storey. For foundries, forge shops, heat treating plants and plants manufac turing articles producing in the course of their creation noxious odours, the one-storey is employed. Where ground is cheap and large areas are available for future expansion of business the modern practice, especially in the United States, is to use the single storey building throughout the entire sequence of manu facture, both for the making of light and heavy articles. This method is ideal for mass production and would be extensively used were it not for insufficient available ground area and the relative extra cost of the single storey building over the multi storey building per square foot of floor area.

The multi-storey building

is usually constructed of either steel or reinforced concrete and is designed so that extra floors may be added with the increase of business. The usefulness of this class of building has been greatly enhanced by the intro duction of the continuous conveyor system as the floors are now no longer dependent upon an elevator service for vertical trans portation of goods during manufacture. The multi-storey build ing is restricted in width by lighting and ventilation requirements which in turn are relative to an economical height from floor to floor. This ratio of width to height of floor varies little in all countries and the majority of multi-storey buildings are designed so that the glass in the side walls is not less than 2 2 % of the floor area. The height, floor to floor, is usually between 12 and 14 ft. and the width of floor area from 5o ft. to 90 ft. The area of ventilators should not be less than 3o% to 35% of the total area of the windows. In South Africa and in other countries with similar intensity of light the area of glass must of necessity be reduced to one-third of that used in European buildings and no direct sunlight must be allowed to enter.

In order to gain a maximum of light and ventilation use has been made of an elevation with a continuous window. This has been made possible by using a cantilever construction so that no columns are visible on the exterior. It is this type of construc tion which has given to the multi-storey factory a facade which lends itself to an expression suitable for an industrial building; by it great scope has been given to the architect in his endeav our to uplift its aesthetic qualities. The most satisfactory attempt in dealing with this problem has been to encase the whole elevation with a large architrave of flat bands sometimes enriched with coloured tiles or faience work; this has the effect of giving sta bility to the strong horizontal lines of the continuous fenestration.

One-Storey Buildings.

Where one-storey buildings are nec essary the practice in Europe is to use the north light type of fac tory, the usual pitch of the roof being 6o and 3o with the hori zontal (see Plate, fig. 9). These roofs are designed so that no direct sunlight can enter the building and by this method a uniform intensity of light is distributed throughout the building. The height from floor to supporting beam is usually from i 2 to I 5 ft. but where a great deal of overhead shafting is used the height is increased to obtain an adequate drive for the belting. A modern tendency is to localize power units, and a growing tendency in favour of individual motors for each machine permits the height of the one-storey building to be reduced. This is an asset which, so long as the ventilation is adequate, makes construction and heat ing requirements less expensive.

For certain manufactures in America north light factory roofing is considered obsolete. This form of construction has given way to a variety of a new combination of trusses which give better light ing and ventilation and are sometimes known as the "butterfly" truss (see Plate, fig. 7) . Apart from the improvement in the efficiency of a factory and its workpeople, this butterfly con struction possesses many qualities which will give the industrial architect opportunities for making the single storey factory build ing just as complete a piece of architecture as the multi-storey fac tory has now become. Hitherto the multi-storey building stood alone in having gained for itself a definite style of architecture.

The outstanding demand of the modern manufacturer is for clear floor space and this demand is fully met by this construction. Spans from 5o to 6o ft. are usually more necessary in the one storey building than the multi-storey building and whilst these can be obtained by north light construction, butterfly construction solves the problem more efficiently for certain manufactures. North light with its awkward angles makes maintenance work ex pensive whereas in butterfly construction, flashings, ridges and surface water problems are considerably reduced. The interior appearance of a one-storey building designed with a butterfly truss is superior to the north light type and receives readily the numerous factory accessories such as sprinklers and heating pipes. In order that the direction from which the light enters the building may be always changing throughout the day, these roofs are faced east and west. Tests have been made and it has been proved that operatives suffer less fatigue when the object upon which they are working has varying intensities of light cast upon it. The direct beam of light is diffused by the use of prismatic or ribbed glass so that this variation may be kept within working limits. There are articles which will not withstand this alteration of light values, but the majority of manufactures are not affected by even a very strong light for short periods during their production. An excellent natural ventilation is brought about and is controlled by auto matic opening gear, consisting in some factories of ranges of glass over Boo ft. which are operated by one push-button, the entire length of glass moving en masse. Whilst this is recommended in certain cases zoo ft. is most preferred. With this type of roof facilities for cleaning the glass are much more convenient than with the north light construction, as the cleaner can work freely from the flat portion of the roof.

Layouts.—Great strides have been made in the layout of works, and sequence of manufacture has become a special study in all countries. It is in this sequence of manufacture that mass production has been made possible. The elimination of handling and reduction of the travelling distance necessary for an article during its creation has been reduced to a minimum. Many large factories incorporate in their layout large service basements in which goods are conveyed from one part of the factory to another without covering any of the manufacturing area. These are also used as interim stores in which goods may be placed awaiting their despatch to another department. So important is this sequence of manufacture that it is among the first drawings prepared for a proposed new factory, and great care is taken to design the build ing in such a way that some or all departments may receive addi tional area without a dislocation of the normal sequence of manu facture. In America use is made of apartment factories in which several firms will rent floors in the same multi-storey building thereby greatly reducing the transport of goods when these manu facturers are inter-dependent.

The delivery and despatch of goods varies in the different coun tries ; in the United States and on the continent of Europe much use is made of railway transport, even for the smaller factories; whereas in England considerable use is made of road transport and many important factories are found depending solely upon this method. Many factories are now independent units and it is possible in some instances for workpeople to obtain within their own works most of the necessities as well as some of the enter tainments of life. It is not an unusual occurrence to find in America and in many European factories, large recreation grounds, ranges of shops, hospitals, restaurants at which the employees are supplied at cheap rates. The two main considerations in modern factory design are the possible maximum output and the health and welfare of the factory operatives, and there are architects and engineers who specialize in this branch of building. (See also FACTORY CONSTRUCTION AND PLANNING.) See Internationale Architektur (ed. W. Grotius, Munich, t925) ; W. Linder, Bauten der Technik (1927) and current architectural periodi cals of London, New York, Paris and Berlin.

building, light, factory, floor, multi-storey, factories and construction