Beyond the front elevation: a conceptual framework for re(thinking) facadism

  • YEAR
    Yan, Oliver Jonathan Cheung Chin
    2015 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers
    Theory, Philosophy and Methodology in Architectural Science


As the viability of Melbourne’s manufacturing industry declines, the production process is either phased out, or is moved to other areas. In this current economic climate, the pressing notion for redevelopment to privilege a regulated, homogenous new development is favoured. This new construction becomes almost foreign to the idea of an ingrained memory and the rich cultural heritage. The building is preserved, conserved or demolished by adopting the legitimised facadism approach. This paper examines the current established practice of facadism – an architecture designed by preserving the building front elevation with reference to Melbourne’s industrial architecture. By exploring this, it proposes another alternative for the preservation and conservation of heritage value. It argues that the heritage value lies within the functional doings of the building and allowing the latter to evolve, change and adapt is more valuable than that of preserving the heritage façade. The focus is placed on layering of events, appropriating residual space. This is achieved through a proposition of varying levels of indeterminacy, which allows for adaptability and alterations in programmatic trajectories and changing social needs. A living and evolving cultural and social laboratory is proposed in which it maintains its heritage significance and engages within its community.


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