Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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posted on 2022-09-22, 11:17 authored by Jackson, Thomas

The suburb of New Brighton in Christchurch Aotearoa was once a booming retail sector until the end of its exclusivity to Saturday shopping in 1980 and the aftermath of the devastating 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The suburb of New Brighton was hit particularly hard and fell into economic collapse, partly brought on by the nature of its economic structure. This implosion created an urban crisis where people and businesses abandoned the suburb and its once-booming commercial economy. As a result, New Brighton has been left with the residue of abandoned infrastructure and commercial propaganda such as billboards, ATM machines, commercial facades, and shopping trolleys that as abandoned fragments, no longer contribute to culture, society and the economy. This design-led research investigation proposes to repurpose the broken objects that were left behind. By strategically selecting objects that are symbols of the root cause of the economic devastation, the repurposed and re-contextualised fragments will seek to allegorically expose the city’s destructive economic narrative, while providing a renewed sense of place identity for the people. This design-led thesis investigation argues that the seemingly innocuous icons of commercial industry, such as billboards, ATM machines, commercial facades, and shopping trolleys, are intended to act as lures to encourage people to spend money; ultimately, these urban and architectural lures can contribute to economic devastation. The aim of this investigation is to repurpose abandoned fragments of capitalist infrastructure in ways that can help to unveil new possibilities for a disrupted community and enhance their awareness of what led to the urban disruption. The thesis proposes to achieve this research aim by exploring three principal research objectives: 1) to assimilate and re-contextualise disconnected urban fragments into new architectural interventions; 2) to anthropomorphise these new interventions so that they are recognisable as architectural ‘inhabitants’, the storytellers of the urban context; and 3) to curate these new architectural interventions in ways that enable a community-scale allegorical and didactic experience to be recognised.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

CC BY-SA 4.0

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Title

Reconstructing fragments of residual identities

Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Brown, Daniel