Cities keep expanding as people move towards more desired locations on the outskirts, resulting in abandoned, dead nodes within the city centre. These buildings are left to deteriorate, especially those of heritage and cultural importance. Designed with a very specific function in mind, industrial architecture is mostly removed from society, hidden behind infrastructure. The process and economics are what drives the architecture.
But what happens when this industry fails, or become of no value to mankind? What is left behind except for the scarred ecology? This architecture that was specifically designed for this mono-functional purpose? Decay sets in: what was once a producer becomes no more than a relic - socially abandoned because it was never social to begin with.
The growth in technology as well as the realization that many of the ways in which old industries used to function has had an immense negative effect on the environment. A calling for new, better ways of doing things were needed; though it has left our city landscapes scattered with industrial objects, from mine dumps to power plants, abandoned and without purpose.
There is an ethical responsibility that should address this and to reactivate these areas by re-appropriating these nodes by making them into desired locations for businesses as well as residents. The challenge being in finding an appropriate use for such nodes that will help the city flourish.
Re-appropriating such architecture will put a new focus and livelihood on it, as well as its surrounding precinct. By utilizing and re-appropriating the architecture, it will eliminate, or at least lessen, the chances of it becoming another abandoned monument.
This dissertation will highlight and investigate the importance of industrial architecture as an object of heritage for South Africa. This will be done by looking at the manner in which the architecture at the Johannesburg Gas Works can be re-purposed and re-imagined in contributing to an ever-evolving city and its people, by giving the existing structures a new purpose. There is therefore a need to keep the heritage of the Gas Works alive because the architecture, and the site as such, has become obsolete to the purpose it was built for.
Mini Dissertation MArch(Prof)--University of Pretoria, 2018.