Space in Time
The Future of Logistic Landscapes
By Florian Bengert
In the Middle Ages we shopped in the market square, later on in the city high street and today we have online shopping – but the future of shopping lies in the “phygital” (physical/digital) store, an urban hub of a large logistic network representing the convergence between online and offline world.
Modernity is a world in motion and logistics control this world. Goods, people, resources, capital, data and images move with increasing speed over long distances. In the quest for competitive advantages based on speed, logistical modernity replaces natural and urban terrain with undirected space and virtual surfaces in the form of the virtual online shop with an invisible logistics centre in the background. The complexity of human and urban space, however, finds no place here. Against this backdrop, my design questions the singularity of logistical time and searches for the space in time.
I propose new architectural occupations, which can be embedded in these infrastructures and make use of the special features of their logistical DNA. The aim is to develop design strategies for programmatically, spatially and architecturally enriched infrastructures, transforming the strategic space of logistics into habitable space as experienceable architectural and urban terrain.
Online shopping means an increase in individual parcel transport, but the proportion of successful first-attempt deliveries is very low. This is wasteful in terms of energy. Increasing automation of parcel pick-up and drop-off processes can counteract this and at the same time lead to increased customer satisfaction. Major inner city railway stations, such as the one in Karlsruhe, in southwest Germany, with their good connections and high commuter traffic, are ideal locations for phygital stores. The term phygital describes the symbiotic relationship between physical and digital where products move between physical and digital space.
These stores, in the form of parcel towers, are both storage and collection points for goods ordered online. Using your smartphone, you can walk through the building and look at showrooms and concept store products and then order them. Buyers can use an app in the sense of sharing networks so that users who are looking for the same products are displayed to each other and can exchange. The interspaces between the towers, are filled with a wide range of uses such as changing rooms for online ordering, bar and café for social exchange, concept stores, a station chapel or a capsule hotel. They complement the online world, thus placing the dualism of virtual reality and shopping in a new more physical form of consumer space. They are the space in time. ■