Asian Property Review finds out from Raymond Hoe and Will Ringer, Scott Brownrigg’s Director and architect respectively, the latest on warehousing and Smart Shed, a mixed-use industrial building.

How do you see the future of warehousing?

Firstly, warehousing ranges between logistics through to manufacturing and mission critical facilities.

To begin with, we may see an increase in buildings and infrastructure that are not designed for or inhabited by people. This new urban mix of performance envelopes surrounding digital, productive and energy-generation processes will not just be located on the periphery, but also downtown. As younger citizens migrate back to live in the city centre, they will increasingly find themselves co- existing with machines. At the metropolitan scale, the optimal localization of mixed-use distribution facilities within the first and third ring of cities will be essential to enable the “green” transition of cities and the uptake of electric vehicles for deliveries.

What is the best logistic design to cater for Industrial 4.0 especially in the context of limited urban space?

Traditional concepts of urban design and placemaking may give way to a different re-programming of space, where non-cultural entities shape and inform the design of space. Scott Brownrigg’s Advanced Technologies team is working with other centres of excellence on this upcoming reality.

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The key objective of the smart shed is to create a liveable productive industrialised quarter, unlock the potential of industrial land, responding to the demand of technological oriented developments which allows for new communities. The integration of a smart mobility and sensing technologies will be essential to redefine the liveability of future industrial quarters.

What are the constraints of vertical warehouses?

We see these constraints as a design challenge. With more defined planning policies, increasing land values, and changing consumer habits, we need to look for new solutions that achieve the needs of business in a changing world. By mixing uses vertically and deriving a new financial model for return on investment, these hybrid structures will accommodate cars, sport, last mile logistics, PRS, lifestyle and data uses on various levels over a 24- hour cycle.

The challenge with vertical warehouses is to provide flexibility in the design solution that can cater for a number of futures uses that will not degrade our urban environment. In the mission critical sector, we are seeing conversions of existing logistics warehouses into data centres, as zoning aligns well with these types of facilities. The challenge is maximize land value, and adapting these building to maximize the GFA to make the projects financially viable.

With a shift away from car ownership, there will be increased demand and opportunity for repurposing existing real estate (with its embedded carbon). The challenge is that the existing design of multi-storey car park structures limit the opportunities for re- purposing. Our proposition is to plan, and allow for a flexible solution.

The section: Layering value: flexibility

Share more details of Smart Shed 1.0. e.g. case study of a successful Smart Shed.

Providing a solution for retooling of our cities and planning is the fundamental principle for cities. Smart Shed one focuses on edges of cities. We have developed other smart shed typologies that respond to other areas of the city.

We have examples of multi-storey carparks, warehouses and distribution centres already in existence. However, their technological obsolescence and their lack of engagement with the public realm prevent those from achieving higher-values that can be realised.

We are currently developing a 3-storey fulfilment centre / vertical warehouse in Wembley, and projects in Austria and Romania implementing the smart shed philosophy. The future alignment of large investment funds and this new form of mixed-use industrial buildings will be essential to make the vision viable.

Share your thoughts on logistics-led master- planning. Are there currently any such projects (completed on under construction)?

Logistics and technology-orientated developments have been a very recent response to change in consumer needs, and the challenges in growth of populations in urban areas.

Cross rail 1 & 2 in London, for example have had almost £50 billion of investment in rail passenger investment, with no additional investment into logistics. The focus has been on providing a solution for a single problem, rather than providing an opportunity for business and people.

Hyperloop is looking to integrate the movement of freight and light cargo into the network, supporting manufacturing and IT sectors. The opportunity for Scott Brownrigg is to provide expert input into planning policy, provide guidance, and design services for developing masterplans that utilise this high-level thinking.


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