Adaptive reuse of industrial buildings, with special reference to Cape Town

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Internationally the need for the conservation of industrial heritage is well established. The factors affecting the success of such conservation ventures have been extensively documented. as well as the changed uses likely to produce the best results in different types of industrial buildings. Many projects have been executed, demonstrating different approaches to the typical planning. design and funding issues that arise when industrial buildings are conserved. Industrial conservation is much less well established in South Africa and to date. there have been few studies concentrating specifically on issues arising from the conservation of the local industrial heritage. This dissertation focuses on the adaptive reuse of conservation-worthy industrial buildings in Cape Town. South Africa. Issues addressed in this study range from conservation and design attitudes towards the buildings. to the impact of location on possibilities for adaptive reuse. new functional opportunities offered by typical structural and building forms and spaces, and the economical viability of projects. This study will relate South African industrial conservation issues to international precedents, and, by analysing three case studies of successful reuse projects in the Cape Town area. the study will demonstrate that this heritage can indeed be reused effectively and successfully. It will also show that the ultimate success of industrial conservation projects depends on careful consideration of economic potentials and constraints. as well as on an appreciation of the specific building's cultural significance.