Functional heritage : reconnecting with the iron web

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Howse, William
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Jadresin-Milic, Renata
Schnoor, Christoph
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Mornington Cable-Car Depot (Dunedin, N.Z.)
cable-car depots
public transportation nodes
adaptive reuse of buildings
heritage tourism
Dunedin (N.Z.)
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Howse, W (2017). Functional heritage : reconnecting with the iron web. Explanatory document. An unpublished research project submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional), Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
RESEARCH QUESTION : How could an historic building be adapted to facilitate reconnection with its community and to make it functionally relevant in the 21st century? Historic buildings are becoming redundant in the face of contemporary development, although the potential for adaptative reuse is increasing in popularity. Through strategic design intervention, many historic buildings could become functionally relevant during the 21st century. The purpose of this work is to develop an architectural solution for the adaptive reuse of an historic building. The intention is for the building to become functionally relevant in 21st century Dunedin, so the project explores the adaptive reuse in relation to an existing proposal for a new cable-car depot in the city. The project grew from a personal passion for New Zealand’s architectural heritage and, in particular, Dunedin due to its growing reputation as the heritage capital of New Zealand. For this reason it should be acknowledged that the site was selected at the beginning of the project, and all investigation has been conducted specifically in relation to the chosen site. The site in Dunedin that has been chosen is the currently neglected historic former Mornington Cable-Car Depot. A systematic study will be conducted that is based on architectural, historical, and context analysis, to provide insight into the adaptive reuse of a piece of architectural heritage. There has been widespread theoretical views about the adaptation of historic buildings for reuse since discussions on the topic reached their peak in France and England during the nineteenth century. The primary motive behind these discussions seems to stem from issues around authenticity. Should it be allowed for an historic building to be restored to its original condition when much of the building may no longer exist? If restoration is allowed does this result in a fraudulent imitation of the original? This dilemma continues as an on-going argument in heritage conservation. The intention of this work is to refocus how the chosen building is regarded by the community. For example, “it’s an old building past its use-by-date because the cable- car is no longer in existence.” The re-purposing of the building could change the focus to one where the potential of the building is not only realised, but is actually valued and revered for its history, cultural heritage and place in Dunedin society
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