Iris Lee 高一上 (2012/07/25 00:03)
Of all Modernism’s tenets, few have been more “revered” than the assembly line. Its crisp efficiency was a template for everything. The new BMW plant in Leipzig serves as an antidote to just that sort of uniformity. A boomerang-shaped industrial shed with rows of cars streaming on curving tracks, it is less a model of efficiency than a machine for voyeuristic pleasure. Moreover, the plant is an attempt at social engineering. Its architect subverts the sequential order of manufacturing by having each car loop back through the central building, where workers can survey their work. Engineers and workers are in constant contact, too, mingling in the corridors and the cafeteria, which breaks down the hierarchy. Because each car is routed on its way from the body shop to the paint shop or final assembly plant, you witness them in all their various stages. At certain points, the cars stop and revolve on enormous turntables before heading off in a new direction. The movements suggest mechanical ballet. Leipzig plant is thus the flagship of BMW that provides customized services. Very subtly, the free flow of information replaces the monotony of the assembly line; individual needs rule over bland repetition; and machines are at the service of man.