Live.Make Industrial Arts Center

 LocationCincinnati. USA 
 TypeCompetition entry (honorable mention) 
 StatusCompleted. Honorable mention 
 SPOPeopleLara Lesmes, Fredrik Hellberg 

The tectonic character of our constructions is working against the rapid innovation and evolution of our times. Halfway amongst the virtual, the natural and the built environments we are trying to find a place made of and by change, where there is no outlined end to reach and no predefined function to perform. But it is impossible to construct such place, since the no-function goal would become the predefined one and, therefore, defeat the initial premise. The only places free of outlines or expectations are those that have existed passed its initial purpose: abandoned constructions. All we can do is build in, on and around them.

We propose an infrastructural truss over the existing building that provides the necessary services for the intended programs as well as it embraces future functional and formal modifications. Below, the industrial ruin charged with symbolism remains and performs as a space free of function that allows for spontaneity, creativity and remembrance, responding to time and nature. 

The construction will be considered in four parts:
1. PROGRAM : the piano nobile
2. STRUCTURE : the truss
3. JOINERY : the eaves and  corbels 
4. RUIN : the loggia


The main structural system is a bridge-like truss of varying modules that sits over the existing construction without touching it. The truss is composed by tension and compression members joining in points of no bending moment. All cables have equal dimension but the struts have varying radiuses according to the load they are carrying.

Aerial View

Existing condition.  

The existing construction remains mainly untouched. Only some pars of the ceiling are removed in order to let more light in. All columns are kept intact. This structure will remain as the space of experimentation, events, social interaction and any community activity.

All spaces in relation to these programs will be commisioned designs that will be mainly temporary, in order to keep the space alive and changing as the existing structure becomes an industrial ruin of

Eaves and corbels

We identify, and therefore define, the Italianate style by its use of certain classical elements (cornices, eaves, corbels, loggias, etc.) and not by its forms. Therefore we develop a symbolic language parallel to this with a similar application strategy.

A series of basic joints are designed in order to suit the angles of the structural members of the truss, that do not vary, but each type will become singular when distorted for suiting the different thicknesses of the structural memebers that vary according to the load being carried. This load could change when the use changes, and then a new joint would be installed, making the joinery an activity diagram.

What makes this possible is the fabrication technique: joints are composed by cnc stone pieces that grab the compression pipes , asembled with steel rings where the tensioned cables are attached.
 our times.
Live Program. Second Floor. Piano Nobile

The program is contained within the truss built over the existing structure. It contains all programs divided in two floors. The upper floor consists of 18 living units, 12 of which are labelled as small (16 sqm), 4 are medium (37 sqm) and 2 are large (87 sqm); a computer room with 2 annex technical rooms (server and technical/rental) and a small library.

The floor areas are very restricted in order to allow the maximum amount of light to this floor but specially to avoid any other activities than those programmed, therefore ensuring the tranquillity of this floor.  All the rooms in the perimeter have exterior views and twelve small size rooms face the two courtyards, maximising the privacy of all rooms.

All rooms are customisable; the user could choose different panelling or even build a completely new structure as long as it fits within the given bounding box - space clear of main structural members and infrastructure.

Existing condition.  

Make Program
First Floor
The lower floor concentrates all manufacturing activity. All rentable studios (light and maker-in studios) face the road, whereas the workshops are facing the back. This is to suit the advertisement need that the leasers may benefit from and to give a view of the hill to the working spaces, where users will be spending most time.This floor count with 4 toilet units and a canteen terrace on the front.

The outdoor working are is placed under the courtyard on the upper floor (slightly displaced north), allowing light to penetrate through the building at all times of the day. 

Both the digital and the wood/welding workshops have direct access to the 2 circulation cores, situated on both sides of the building, thus easing transportation of source materials or finalised pieces.