Reuse: The lifecycle of buildings in New Zealand
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1547
Since our environment is partly proof of our history, it needs to be protected and maintained. Beyond this cultural value most existing buildings have, there are environmental and often economic benefits that should not be ignored. The world’s problems of declining resources and waste production can also be seen in New Zealand. Because of the environmental challenges the world is facing today, sustainability is an important factor in every aspect of life, but is especially so in the construction industry. Therefore, it is necessary to think about the lifecycle and possible future reuses of buildings. However, because New Zealand is geographically isolated there is a habit of reuse and recycling of materials anyway, but not for the reason of being deliberately sustainable. This thesis explores the possibilities of reuse and, further, the possibility of functionally neutral structures in order to extend the lifetime of buildings. As the metropolitan area of Auckland grows, issues of urban sprawl, transportation, mixed-use and land values arise; therefore the intensification and liveability of the inner city needs to be considered. The aim of this paper is to retain and reuse a heritage protected building, plus some adjoining younger theatres forming the Theatre Centre, to give it a useful existence again and to make it suitable for future use; this 82-year-old theatre, the St James, needs an addition in order to become economically and environmentally viable again. Therefore it is necessary to create a functionally neutral structure in addition to the existing building. This also offers the opportunity to mix the uses in Auckland’s CBD and therefore create a lively and safe inner-city area. The outcome of this thesis does not reveal an ultimate scheme for the St James; it is rather to be seen as a foundation for forthcoming research and design work. The results found might help to further develop the consciousness about how to find solutions to the environmental problems we are facing today and will be facing in the future.