Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Flight of the Factory

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Version 2 2023-09-26, 23:57
Version 1 2021-12-07, 01:29
posted on 2023-09-26, 23:57 authored by Lovelock, Mark

New Zealand’s industrial heritage is largely forgotten and at risk of being lost. Without intervention, these buildings will continue to decay until demolition becomes the only feasible option. This design research investigates how laminated timber can be used to adaptively re-use industrial heritage buildings. Adaptive re-use allows a new programme to occur within an existing heritage site, while simultaneously acknowledging its significance. This research produces a set of design guidelines and strategies that can be used to inform future projects.  Laminated timber is typically used in the construction of new buildings and is becoming an increasingly popular choice of material due to recent technological developments and its sustainable profile. This design research explores the use of laminated timber within the adaptive re-use of industrial heritage buildings as an alternative to typical strengthening materials, such as steel and concrete.  The ruins of the Tokomaru Bay Freezing Works is used as a design case study to explore the research question. Located 90km north of Gisborne, Tokomaru Bay is a typical example of the boom and bust experienced in the primary industries of provincial New Zealand during the 20th century. Constructed from Unreinforced Masonry (U.R.M), the freezing works opened in 1910 and initially brought prosperity and development to the region. After the factory’s closure in 1952, the freezing works was abandoned and quickly fell into disrepair and the Tokomaru Bay community sharply declined. This design case study aims to explore the contribution of laminated timber within the adaptive re-use of U.R.M in the context of a mānuka honey factory and garden nursery, within the ruins of the Tokomaru Bay Freezing Works.  Using strategies identified throughout the design research, this case study shows the beneficial relationship that can be achieved between the use of new (laminated timber) and existing heritage fabric (U.R.M) that is compatible with economic revitalisation of small town New Zealand. While acknowledging the limitations of laminated timber, this research identifies five design criteria; architectural character, structure, heritage significance, envelope and program, to assess the success of the design strategies identified.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License


Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


McDonald, Chris