2021 Digital Design Prize: Ana Gabriela Loayza’s “Center – Periphery: Encoding New Processes in Shenzhen’s Boundaries”
by Ana Gabriela Loayza (MArch II ’21) — Recipient of the Digital Design Prize
In 2005, Shenzhen’s Urban Growth Boundaries were created to limit urban expansion, protect water resources, and provide ecotourism routes. Center–Periphery explores the possibilities of an environmentally safe and sustainable textile industry to consolidate the Urban Growth Boundaries as innovation and production poles that connect urbanity and nature. This project has its foundations in the use of AI to imagine new landscapes of integration between a sustainable textile industry, rain-water usage, and the city’s inner nature.
The Textile Industrial Park is used as a subject to analyze and rearrange productive processes with available and emerging technologies. A new textile production can be achieved using organic crops, waste, and bio-fabricated materials integrated through state-of-the-art machinery. In combination with new harvesting, fiber processing, and spinning technologies, the traditional production sequence is transformed.
After analyzing the Urban Boundaries, potential areas of intervention are identified. Inspired by patterns of traditional agriculture, clustering and layering become programmatic and formal resources to replicate enclosed efficient industrial production spaces that progressively open into outdoor areas. This metaball-type pattern of organization is used to plan a new industry. The AI-based process generates suggestions to rearrange the land and manage resources through the manipulation and creation of imagery. While the images produced during the process are not meant to be interpreted literally, they help to translate the production process into landscape, forcing the following steps of architectural design into its formal and organizational considerations.