Future memories: a library and community centre entwined with the remains of the past : sustainable approach to the adaptive reuse of heritage sites in Vrededorp

Eccleston, Megan
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Johannesburg has a large and increasing number of vacant/ abandoned sites with a great portion of these sites having heritage value. These sites increasingly fall prey to vandalism, neglect and demolition, and are commonly disregarded for their potential and value because they are viewed as ‘Old’ in a society that seeks modern and ‘new’. “Future Memories” is a project that aims to investigate sustainable urban design through the adaptive reuse of architectural heritage sites in the Fietas community. This Investigation looks at how a redundant site can be integrated back into the urban fabric with a program focused on community space, data access and the notion of gathering. Investigating how underutilized heritage buildings can be repurposed for new use while staying true to the context and location of the site and the memories associate with the place. It will also set a precedent for how the existing buildings of the area can be thoughtfully repurposed for new uses, with the aim of extending the life span of these buildings for future generations.This exploration of how an adaptive reuse project in the Fietas community can stimulate and keep alive memories from the past through the addition to and adaption of heritage buildings in the area. The project backs this through the study of adaptive reuse, memory and place attachment. These themes are the driving factors in developing a project that conjures up moments from the past through contemporary architecture. A study of the place that once thrived as a community was analysed to develop these nostalgic moments that was then incorporated into a new architectural typology that is able to reinvasion memory within the design project
A design project submitted to the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional) July 2021