ABANDONED SPACES, ABANDONED DESIGN
This dissertation investigates the significant problem of abandoned buildings in the Pretoria Central Business District and, to a lesser extent, the lack of public exposure to art, architecture and design. For the purpose of this study, empty spaces in the City Centre and Die Meent buildings are examined. A new system for their reuse is developed and a gallery for the exhibition of multiple art forms is incorporated therein, as an example of how the aforementioned system can be appropriated. These problems, especially the first, is not restricted to the local urban context.
The investigation is thus divided into two phases: the first provides a solution to the challenge of reusing abandoned spaces in buildings; the second phase, as a proposed future exploration of this system, provides a solution to the need for a multi-purpose exhibition area. City Property is the proposed client for the first phase, while MINI Space is the proposed client for the second phase.
Empty buildings are a growing concern worldwide, due to concerns for sustainable development and decreasing greenfield sites. This dissertation proposes that the term ‘site’ should be redefined, using the x-y-z axes as a base. By applying the theory of Deconstruction, it is argued that ‘ground zero’ be shifted to a higher level, to include not only the x- and y-axis, but also the z-axis, leading to the creation of truly three-dimensional cities.
Vacant floors within the buildings under investigation are stripped down to the structural elements and some service cores. These concrete planes are then divided into new ‘sites’, which can be rented or, preferably, sold to new owners. Green open space replaces some of the top floors, and slabs are selectively cut open to allow for access to sunlight and to create spatial definition. Principles are set up according to which this and further development should be done, including factors like functional zoning and new ‘site’ restrictions.
The objective of the MINI Space Gallery is to promote art, architecture and any other form of art or design to the public. A MINI store and a coffee shop are included as ancillary spaces, promoting a mix of uses within the gallery space.
A parti-diagram is developed for each of the two phases of the dissertation. These diagrams are based on elements of architecture derived from Deconstruction and the use of x-y-z. Each element or axis (form/beauty; function/programme; tectonics/structure) is examined separately, after which they are combined to create space. All aspects of the project, from large scale design to small scale technical details, are solved by means of applying these parti-diagrams.
This project aims to advance a new way of looking at the city and promoting different forms of art. Culturally rich spaces within vibrant cities with multiple levels of living, working and playing, aid the creation of new communities and unique spaces for each individual.