Space is an industrial product
“Societies are maintained because they are able to convey their principles and values from one generation to another. From the time they feel unable to convey something, or when they no longer know what to convey and lean on future generations, they are ill”. Claude Lévi-Strauss.
Accepting that we live in a post-industrial society, we should consider our industrial heritage to be proof of the civilization that produced it, just as we do with everything that History leaves us over time. Bearing witness to en era, industrial heritage reveals one of the most representative unique features of our time, and that is what is developed between the universal and the individual.
_ Industry is based on standardised, extremely functional production, underpinned by scientific principles yielding as a result a series of shapes and structures that, generally speaking, do not vary. For instance, a steel mill, wherever it is will be the same. We can identify it regardless of our origin and its surroundings. This is its global dimension.
_ In addition, industry makes an enormous impact on the land. It transforms the landscape, labour and ways of life and comes to take up a very significant place in collective memory. That is its local dimension.
This sort of hybrid nature makes industrial heritage a paradigmatic element of a globalised civilisation.
Nevertheless, there is often reluctance to grant this recognition and rather a certain interest in forgetting and concealing the industrial past. Consumers and producers turn their backs to it.
Industry, which in many cases brings modernity, and the wealth associated with it are often perceived, spatially, as devastation. It is true that beauty in the industrial spaces is not evident. But its symbolic nature is enormous and it is not uncommon for its disappearance to come hand in hand with instability and a void.
“(Social) space is a (social) product”. Henri Lefevre, in his work The Production of Space, almost feels tempted to excuse himself for how evident this assertion is. Fortunately, this leads us to a deeper interpretation: “Space produced this way is an instrument of both thought and action”.
Industrial space should be understood as space for creation, public and community space, particularly at a time when what is reasonable is to regenerate what we already have and not senselessly continue to sprawl across the landscape. As in so many other situations, all we need is an approach that is not preconceived and stereotyped, but based on production, naturally.