Living and Remaining The Adaptive Re-used Tannery Community Brings Us Together

Zhang, Quanyin
Waghorn, Kathy
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Master of Architecture (Professional)
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Auckland University of Technology

In the context of the Muddy Urbanism Research Lab, this thesis explores how an architectural intervention can recognise the historical value of an industrial heritage building precinct. The design research takes an approach of adaptive reuse whilst also seeking to impact positively on an urban waterway and stimulate neighbourhood connection.

The site, a collection of industrial buildings of different ages, is located alongside the Avondale Stream, a branch of the Whau river in the west of Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland. This was once the Astley Tannery, a large animal hides tanning operation dating from 1888. No longer an active tannery, the site now makes space for an unlikely collection of programmes that make opportunistic use of the building’s dimensions, volumes and materials; badminton, gyms, church services, ice cream manufacture, dance lessons and automotive services all find spaces suited to their activities. However, the mostly impervious zone behind the buildings is used for parking and as an informal rubbish dump, degrading the neighbouring stream and preventing neighbourhood connection to the waterway. This design research project intervenes in the site, seeking ways to productively build on the mix of programmes, valuing the industrial heritage, inserting residential accommodation and an ecological arts centre, and diverting a planned shared path to cross through the site, in order to activate and populate this ‘potential landmark’.

Further, through the adoption of water sensitive and low impact urban design methods, the intention is to impact positively on the health of the waterway and have a positive effect on neighbourhood connection whilst valuing what already exists. This design research finds adaptive reuse is a programmatic strategy for repurposing buildings to achieve a sustainable future. As a result, this thesis suggests an approach to a strategic adaptive reuse programme at site scale.

Adaptive reuse , Astley Tannery , Urban Planning , Te Whau River , Industry building , New Lynn
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