Multiplying commodity flows, manufacturing is increasingly organized within global production networks. Inspite of their transformative role for the built environment, these dynamic socio-spatial formations connecting production locations around the world have hardly received any attention in architectural research to date. This talk explores the architecture of particular buildings and their functions within such production networks catering to the fashion industry. It revisits ordinary places in the hinterlands and backroads of globalization that seem to have nothing in common at first glance – such as dense production districts in inner city Istanbul, small factories in converted public buildings in Bulgarian mountain villages, and large-scale monofunctional industry zones stamped out of the dust by Chinese contractors in the outskirts of Ethiopian cities.
A more precise, relational reading of spatial transformations on architectural and urban scales, however, sheds light on economic shifts at planetary scale. The talk discusses in what ways conceptualizations of global production networks and transnationality offer an advanced framework for architectural research allowing to take account of multi-scalar interdependencies at work in present-day urbanization.
Part of the Architectural History and Theory Seminar Series 2018/19.