Building upon: a designer's approach to adaptive reuse
Shroff, MB and Worrall, J, Building upon: a designer's approach to adaptive reuse, Proceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians of Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) 37: What if? What next? Speculations on History's Futures, 18-25 November 2020, Perth, Australia and online, pp. 501-515. ISBN 978-0-646-83725-3 (2020) [Refereed Conference Paper]
Copyright 2020 Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand
With heritage policy stressing cultural significance extending in many cases beyond
the material reality of an existing building towards intangible heritage, this paper
seeks to put forward an alternative approach to those that emphasise a stable
understanding of existing buildings as material artefact. The propositions described
in this paper aim to promote new conceptual tolerances for creating architecture
from existing buildings via a design research modality.
This paper sets out a speculative, design-oriented approach and methodology to
mediating the relationship between intangible heritage qualities possessed by existing
buildings and their agency towards the creation of new form for adaptive reuse. It
describes the creation of mnemonic and metaphoric devices to mobilise and tease
out these qualities via acts of oblique questioning and imaginative interpretation.
The specific case employed to mobilise this inquiry is the Union House building at the
University of Adelaide, designed in 1969-1975 by Dickson & Platten. The re-reading
and focus on a single building provides a consistent base as a starting point, allowing
a clear mapping of a suite of design strategies, akin to a "theme and variations"
approach found in musical composition.
The consistent premise is for a building realised in-situ through a new 2500m2 volume
and selective demolition of the existing Union House. Re-readings of the existing
building are conducted in search for distinctive points of departure emanating from
the host building. Through various techniques, the generated propositions aim for
"conceptual fidelity" to the host while articulating an expanded field of architectural
qualities sourced in its existing condition.
Refereed Conference Paper
critical adaptive reuse, experimental heritage, Dickson and Platten (architectural firm)