Rehabilitation of post-industrial sites has become a major concern due to the growing awareness of the fragile state of the natural environment. This awareness has been met with the enactment of legislation that enforces rehabilitation as a post-industrial activity. The motive underpinning such legislation is rooted within a mechanistic worldview and is concerned with the management of natural resources to prolong its exploitation for the purposes of maintaining developmental status quo (du Plessis, 2012: 8). As a result, rehabilitation addresses the symptoms of dysfunctional interactions with nature rather than establishing new symbiotic interactions which would address the causes of natural degradation. In the case of the Pretoria Steel Works, symptomatic rehabilitation has a limited scope of intervention, failing to re-establish the natural complexity that existed before industry. A rehabilitation approach is implemented that seeks to erase all evidence of industrial activity on site thus threatening the industrial heritage of Pretoria. This approach also negates the latent potential of adaptive reuse and its inherent economic benefits. This dissertation will investigate the implementation of ecosystemic thinking as an alternative approach to postindustrial rehabilitation. This approach seeks to address both the cause and symptoms of natural degradation by establishing a new symbiotic relationship between humans and nature through the implementation of theories related to biophilia, regeneration and heritage conservation. Architectural applications of these theories in facilitating ecological remediation and complexity will be explored. The Pretoria Steel Works will form the platform for investigation in this dissertation and will seek to set a precedent for the redevelopment of similar post-industrial sites providing an alternative to the traditional rehabilitation approach.
Mini Dissertation (MArch (Prof))--University of Pretoria, 2018.