The Craft of Conversion: Enhancing New Zealand's Industrial Heritage through Adaptive Reuse
The aim of this research is to explore an adaptive reuse approach as a way to enhance industrial buildings in New Zealand. As in other parts of the world, New Zealand has accumulated industrial buildings which are now in disrepair. Many of these buildings appear to be undervalued by their local communities and are often demolished with little consideration given to other options. There are missed opportunities here to create composite architectures which make use of these somewhat curious buildings. This thesis initially investigates the significance that these buildings may hold for society and suggests reasons why they ought to be reused. The research then questions how an adaptive reuse approach could be used to enhance industrial structures. By combining the research into the importance of older buildings, particularly industrial buildings, with international case study analysis, a set of design approaches are developed. These approaches offer concepts and techniques for the conversion of industrial buildings which pertain to physical factors such as proportion and form. The design process is informed by these approaches, where they are expanded and tested for their relevance in a New Zealand context. The site for this design exploration is the Lower Hutt Railway Workshops which were selected to reveal the challenges involved in a large-scale project and because they embody the typical issues of industrial disregard. The intended function is a film complex which has specific requirements necessary to probe change in the buildings. However, this design example does not suggest that one-approach-fits-all. Rather, these approaches are developed to provoke thought in designers embarking on industrial conversions. Due to a widespread lack of appreciation of industrial buildings, there is typically more creative freedom in the way they are adapted, compared with non-industrial buildings. This suggests that more innovative conversion methods can be used. The approaches developed in this thesis advocate for an amalgamated adaptation which has a well considered relationship to the existing building and site. Overall this research reveals that there are a number of significant factors to consider when converting industrial architectures. When these factors are included in the design process, the experience of aged materials and the heritage-value encompassed in these buildings can be further enhanced.