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Amanda Manufacturing Headquarters

A Contemporary Hall of Columns

Mónica Ponce de León Studio | MPdL Studio

Amanda Manufacturing Headquarters
By Raymund Ryan -

The Hall of Columns recurs across history: ancient temples of massive, load-bearing pillars like those in Le Corbusier’s Vers une architecture; vast mosques such as Kairouan or Cordoba; Baroque and neo-Classical variants for both religious and secular effect; scenarios envisaged by Giuseppe Terragni for his Danteum in the 1930s; and the remarkably light and skinny field of steel poles erected recently by Junya Ishigami for the Kanagawa Istutute of Tecnology (Kait) workshop on the outer fringes of Tokyo.

The Hall of Columns is typically orthogonal and bounded by contiguous walls. These walls might be glazed or punctured by apertures to offer views of the outer world; or they might be mirrored, as in 18th century palaces, to multiply the cage or troop of columns into infinity. Regarding these expansive halls, it may be more accurate to speak of a “field of columns” as the repetitive singular element - the column - extends beyond the traditional container - the room - to instigate a kind of ludic landscape.

Amanda Manufacturing is a factory in the rolling countryside of southeast Ohio, a pragmatic workplace in surprisingly bucolic terrain. The company makes metal parts for the automobile industry located a few hours’ drive to the north, in and around Detroit. MPdL Studio has now placed a two-story office pavilion directly in front of the existing manufacturing plant. It manifests original thinking about structure, light, and communal space; the upper level, in particular, augments the long lineage of hypostyle halls.

In plan, the upper floor is punctuated by generous circular columns organized in seemingly casual fashion and not to any apparent grid. Occasionally, columns nudge up against each other to query any obvious structural logic. There are differences in girth. All have the same smooth glossy finish but a few discreet and flush access panels hint at interior differences. The larger columns are...

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