Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Industrial vitality

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posted on 2022-07-28, 01:56 authored by Bryant, Luke

As global markets, big box retail and online outlets increasingly dominate the consumption domain, activity and street life of traditional suburban centres suffer. Social engagement is key to a high quality public realm. As social and community based functions, are stripped away from traditional centres, re-introducing production space to compensate for the loss of other functions from the street can offer an opportunity for public space regeneration.

Through design this thesis explores how the factory, focused on a new industry based on a cleaner, small-scale, digital and flexible manufacturing processes, can programmatically reassert its relevance in the urban context of cities today. The research tests how architecture can enhance new production spaces and future factories so they contribute to a high quality public realm in suburban centres.

A systematic approach to the research begins with a Literature Review, establishing criteria for high quality public space and to assess the findings of the research. A Precedent Case Study then informs a series of New Production Space Types which are used to generate generic strategies for Design Exploration.

The case study is sited in Newtown, an old inner-city suburban centre undergoing retail decline. The design exploration includes Urban Design Frameworks and a more detailed investigation of three retail based sites.

The Urban Design intervention limits the level of resolved design solutions for each site, however design exploration at different scaled sites proves production space can provide a level of regeneration to the public realm in relation to the location of the development within the centre.

Regeneration was achieved by maximizing visibility and proximity between production processes and established public space, at times suggesting a merging of the two realms. The range of redundant retail sites on offer meant that the spatial requirements of New Production could be readily accommodated.

Exploration through vertical separation of material/components and architectural treatment of street frontages is likely to incur additional cost in relation to conventional production environments.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

869999 Manufacturing not elsewhere classified

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Title

Public Space Regeneration through Industrial Activity

Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


McDonald, Chris