The Hidden Machine Between High-Tech and Good-Tech
terms "high-tech" and its counterpart "light-weight" were
introduced by the Archigram group as basic concepts
in their 1961 premier publication devoted to "Neo-Futurist" images.
The American futurist Buckminster Fuller suggested covering mid-town
in the 1970s by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, the
Nowadays, the term high-tech is most closely associated with the achievements of computerized technology and its miniaturization of elements, speed and memory – all unrelated to the slow and arduous process of building most commonly construed as "low-tech" or, rarely, as "good-tech". Thus, the possibility of placing the term high-tech at the center of an architectural conception is quite limited. Though the two structures presented below are not typically high-tech, computerization is realized in their architectural conception. The first remains indifferent to extreme changes, the other exhibits a strong kinship between the mantle and its content.
The exhibition center is a huge and empty stage required to display a variety of settings: water sprinklers in a "blooming garden," heavy-duty trucks dangling from the ceiling, or packaging machines operating at full capacity. Although building materials such as textile membranes, steel columns and other technological details, address the building brief only conceptually, the column-free main hall is a flexible space easily adaptable into a performance hall seating 5,000.
The air-conditioning and electrical ducts are exposed beneath the ceiling, while other systems are placed throughout the parking level beneath. The light structure reveals its construction elements - steel beams, aluminum and glass panels – and allows all systems to link to infrastructure throughout the hall, creating a "building machine" reflecting its function.
The idea is reversed at the parking level, where the exposed infrastructure systems combine with the vehicular circulation system to transform "function" into "ornament".
Architect: Moshe Atzmon Architects.
HaAretz Printing Facilities, Tel Itzhak
Although printing technology is not necessarily associated with miniaturization, significant advances have been made in the automation, speed and accuracy of the production process. The vast web presses for newspaper production have the bulk of a four story building, yet their operation and control is fully automated. Completed in 1998, the first stage of Haaretz building contained two rotation machines and one quality press. The production process included paper supply, printing and binding, and distribution. Thus the building was divided into three main sections: a central hall housing the rotation machines, with paper storage at one end and a packaging and distribution section at the other end.
After three years of operation, a third printing press was required and the north section of the lot was extended parallel to the storage facade and entry ways. The new area gave the architects the opportunity to open up the opaque structure and thus reflect the activity within.
The use of transparent construction elements is hardly new. For more than a generation structural glazing, ‘spiders’ and three-dimensional space frames have been in use, often at the cost of energy loss in places with warm climates. In this case, the transparent northern facade has only improved penetration of filtered natural light, saving costs on artificial lighting. Budget and space constraints caused the structure to be wrapped around the interior machinery with a tolerance of less than a meter. Since the relationship between ‘housing’ and ‘housed’ has been reduced to a minimum, the extension granted the architects the opportunity to create a metaphoric conception in the industrial context. The two are so tightly spaced that it is difficult to determine where the building ends and the machine begins. In this context, a creative solution was used to cool the machines: creation of an air curtain descending along the glass wall in place of the typical air-conditioning ducts. Service rooms, usually located at the periphery of the structure, are now stacked one upon the other, adjacent to the press.
"Opening the box" also reflects metaphorically the publishers intention to broadcast its ideological "transparency."
Architects: Schocken Architects
Project Architect: Jeremy Kargon.