Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (43.5 MB)

Transcendent Site: The Resurrection of Denniston

Download (43.5 MB)
posted on 2021-11-15, 07:07 authored by Wilson, Roger

This thesis is a design-led investigation into how the proposed ‘Escarpment Mine Project’ could commemorate the history of the Denniston Plateau while at the same time, moving into the 21st century. The isolated ghost town, Denniston, is used as a means for building upon historic innovation, creating new opportunities for architecture. The resurrected township is based upon three design themes: resisting Dystopia, a call for eccentric creation, and repurposing the past. Each theme emerged as a response to macro and micro site analysis. The project investigates the fate of our cities in the future, and questions the role of architectural design in this setting. Inspired by Ecotopias, the new township is completely self-sufficient, and sustainable economic opportunities are created in anticipation of the inevitable decline of the ‘Escarpment Mine’. The project pushes the boundaries, constraints and perceptions of architectural fantasy. The resurrected township goes beyond accepted building norms, establishing itself as a township rich in identity and imaginative spirit.  The proposal repurposes the past to create an evolutionary architecture specific to Denniston. The new township adds another layer of history to the currently stalled site condition. The development enables future generations to experience the history of site through its architectural evolution. The Denniston township is a positive contribution to the West Coast. The new township mediates with the past towards future ideals, manifesting itself in imaginative, unconventional architecture


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)

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Campays, Philippe