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Designing for Connectivity: Adaptive re-use and reinterpretation of common space in an existing high-rise international style apartment building

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posted on 23.05.2021, 21:31 by Smith, Laura

This thesis takes the position of putting people first, focusing on increasing the social connection and interaction between occupants in a high-rise apartment building. It looks to activate the existing building and strengthen its link to the city. Architecture is a part of a process of accommodating and responding to continually evolving needs and values. In this thesis adaptive re-use is identified as an opportunity to allow the building to respond and adapt to a requirement for social enrichment. Connectivity and being connected is identified as a design driver to achieve social enrichment.

This research questions how might common spaces in an existing residential skyscraper be reinterpreted to increase social connection between occupants and strengthen their link with the city? Manhattan is the context for this thesis. The city sees and accepts transformation and is ideal for investigating this speculative design inquiry. The research question is specific to the character of the Financial District, its urban density and its architectural development. The aim of this research is to activate 200 Water Street, an existing high-rise apartment building to integrate social space to increase connectivity. The significance of this research is in developing knowledge using a ‘research through design’ approach to design for connectivity to activate an existing building through adaptive reuse.


Advisor 1

Petrovic, Emina

Advisor 2

de Sylva, Shenuka

Copyright Date


Date of Award



Victoria University of Wellington - Te Herenga Waka

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Victoria University of Wellington - Te Herenga Waka

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture