The City-Factory

A Strategy for Alternative Work-Spaces



As strategy to subvert the until today maintained appropriation of labour, the project claims the highways of the Ruhr as a public infrastructure, to provide workspaces that give choices and an alternative to the current condition.


The locations of the interventions are directly the highway intersections, exploiting the spatial condition of the leftover space, tightly intertwined with the road and therefore part of the infrastructure itself. The combination with the infrastructure as a public system prevents the interventions from being absorbed by unbalanced private interests, ensuring publicness and permanence of the interventions.

But not only the gesture of directly taking on the existing productive network, the ownership situation of these spaces allows an entry point for a project with a larger agenda, to subvert the current condition. Additionally, taking on strategic location of the highway system makes the interventions integral part of a larger network and strategy, a collective network, controlled and run by its occupants, with the potential to become a counter part to the existing system.


In the context, the different interventions give a new structure and orientation to a homogenous spatial condition of the Ruhr as part of a permanent public framework. Being a subversion of the existing system, the spaces inside act as a hidden retreat, an alternative to the current condition. Although connecting each side of the road, and being permeable to the context, it is the publicly accessible roof-landscape, the sculptural appearance from the road - playing the found form of the roads - and an edge that provokes and invites for interaction, that create the new face of a subliminal subversion.

Much as the infrastructure on the large scale, the interventions must be a permanent frame, that allow for transformation to be productive in the long term. Therefore, the interventions are designed as an abstract system for permanent flexibility, that confront the specificity of the found spatial condition with a permanent framework, developed according to the life span of its elements.


The structure, the most permanent part is kept as simple as possible with focus on usability, changeability and a reasonable span, to be completely independent from program. With a shorter life span and the need for adaptation or access, the services follow this logic and serve the whole space evenly. Horizontal distribution from the ceiling allows independence from program and flexibility in time, with an open floor, creating a space like an infrastructure, that wants to be inhabited and allows for new possibilities from low tech concepts to highly serviced areas and maximised programmatic diversity.


The project is understood as a public infrastructure in the scale of the territory as well as in the scale of the building, that promises choices and an alternative to the current condition of labour, by allowing transformation over time, while ensuring permanent publicness, with the aim to be a strategy or initial starting point for a new form of productive collective.


Gabriel Wulf



Barbarism Begins at Home

Territory and Primitive Accumulation


Architectural Association School of Architecture Academic Year 2016-2017

Diploma Unit 14

Tutors: Pier Vittorio Aureli & Maria Sheherazade Giudici