Architecture as a work-in-progress
Citation:Walls, S. (2013). Architecture as a work in progress. Master Thesis explanatory document. An unpublished explanatory document submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree for the Master of Architecture (Professional).
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/2549
People carry an assumption that ‘heritage’ architecture must be historic (age based) to be considered valuable and significant to New Zealand’s cultural identity. This historic value must be maintained and preserved, but not altered, for it to remain as ‘heritage’ and retain its value. How can heritage buildings engage and remain alive and relevant to society if they are frozen in the past? This research project uses architecture to explore how heritage buildings can reflect the current culture, through contemporary adaption and change of use, in a way that will retain the historic value. This project begins by investigating 19th century conservation theory and its evolvement into the charters, which act as guidelines for protection for heritage buildings today. In addition, the project investigates the practical applications of conservation and adaptive re-use through modern [re]interpretation and change, in Europe and New Zealand. The site selected is a disused heritage building in the Auckland suburb of Ponsonby. It provides the opportunity to test the conclusions drawn from theoretical and practical analyses. Through design, this project re-uses and re-engages the heritage building with the immediate suburban centre of Ponsonby, and the greater urban centre of Auckland. In a sense, the process of construction is never complete. I believe that buildings, like cities, are factories of the infinite and the unfinished. We must be careful not to fall into the absurd trap of perfection: a work of architecture is a living creature that changes over time and with use. A building is never complete, but is in a constant state of being a ‘work-in progress’. This is seen in architecture of all typologies and ages, where buildings are constantly renovated (added to, subtracted from, and maintained). It is when a building is considered to have historic (age based) value for heritage protection that it becomes a challenge to remain its ‘work-in-progress’ state. The design explores how community can re-engage with a disused building. The design outcome is a reactivation of the building for the community and creates public awareness of the site’s continual change in use. This will encourage future re-use of the building. The result of this architectural project is conservation by adaptive re-use through the idea of a heritage building being a ‘work-in-progress’. The outcome is a heritage building that exhibits physical layers of history representing changes of past and present uses. It encourages future design reinterpretations and opposes New Zealand’s current ‘sanitised’ approach to heritage. Project site: Carlile House, Grey Lynn + Ponsonby (Chamberlain Street and Richmond Road)