Limbo : acknowledging value
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Citation:Smith, T. (2019). Limbo : acknowledging value (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4626
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4626
RESEARCH QUESTION: How can the inherited qualities of a derelict place be retained in its rehabilitation? The Mittagong Maltings is located in the Southern Highlands region of New South Wales, Australia. Established in 1899, the Maltings at its peak seamlessly worked three functioning Malthouses into a successful brewing operation. A series of crippling fires, financial issues and ageing technology led to its demise in 1980. Four decades of limbo would ensue. During its dormancy, the Maltings became (and still is) culturally significant to a distinct feral demographic. Such environments exude characteristics that can be considered conducive to fostering creativity. It is unfortunate that, so often, these characteristics are under-valued. Fortunately, however, contemporary conservation practice has moved beyond simply conserving the built fabric, to also take careful account of the intangible realm. This research project is a response to the Mittagong Maltings’ limbo state. Limbo is not traditionally used to describe the state of affairs of a derelict building but is befitting for any environment with an uncertain future. A place in a state of limbo will, over time, acquire several inimitable qualities which, for the most part, are perceived negatively. It is not uncommon for individuals or groups to find value in what others may consider worthless, odd and imperfect. The Maltings is deteriorating fast, and in a recent turn of events, it has been purchased by a deep-pocketed property developer eager to restore it and sell off the land. Its reintegration process has begun. Several adaptive re-use precedents have influenced design decisions, as have the design informants of Wabi-Sabi, Kintsugi and the broader theory of beauty in imperfection. The Australia ICOMOS Burra Charter and “The Potential Role of the Physical Environment in Fostering Creativity” journal were influential texts.