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Assemble sets up shop at A/D/O in its first U.S. site-specific installation

The project is part of A/D/O’s inaugural Design Academy

Exterior view of simple structure clad in blue and ivory-colored ridged tiles set against a brick warehouse space.
“A Factory As It Might Be” is Assemble’s first site-specific installation in the U.S.
Photos by Sam Nixon courtesy of A/D/O

The London-based, Turner Prize-winning, architecture collective Assemble has brought its ideas stateside, transforming an outdoor courtyard at A/D/O, the design incubator in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, into a “model factory” that will explore utopian ideals of work.

The installation is part of the inaugural season of A/D/O’s Design Academy, whose theme, “Utopia vs. Dystopia: Designing Our Imagined Futures,” calls on Assemble, A/D/O, and its collaborators to “devise a model place of work and a set of processes and products that will describe an alternative vision for how society should build and function.”

The main project is the construction of a building, which began in February and runs through April, that continue’s Assemble’s commitment to reinventing built urban environments and understanding their relationship with the public through a hands-on, collaborative approach.

Dubbed “A Factory As It Might Be,” the structure is made from galvanized steel and clad in clay tiles that are produced using a single industrial clay extruder and an electric kiln. In form, the factory resembles Yardhouse, Assemble’s first studio space, which is now up for sale.

The factory itself has become a workshop, too, where Assemble instructs members of the Design Academy and its collaborators on how to manufacture the tiles as well as other clay products like planters and dinnerware that will eventually be used at A/D/O.

Assemble’s founding member Lewis Jones further explained the project in a press release:

With ‘A Factory As It Might Be’, we are interested in how utopian ideas can be applied to the very practical reality of construction, and how building elements—and their method of production—can become an expression of social, economic and political aspirations.

The project is the 18-member group’s first site-specific installation in the U.S., as well as the first activation of A/D/O’s outdoor space. Take a look below.