As I mentioned in the previous post I was fortunate enough to attend a talk on Dunedin’s adaptive reuse of buildings last night. The talk was given by Michael Findlay, who I was lucky enough to be taught by while earning my degree at Otago.
A rather full Burns Hall, First Church audience.
I really appreciated the talk, especially the prehistory about the formation of Dunedin. I had no idea The peninsula was actually an ancient volcano, or that there were so many fault lines around Dunedin. The condensed history lesson at the beginning created a firm grounding for the rest of the talk and provided an insight that I hadn’t received from my previous attempts to learn about Dunedin.
Michael also showed us the original layout for the city drawn up by the surveyors, accompanied by some wonderful original photography of the area as it was built and developed from the invention of photography until the late 19th century. It was wonderful to see how the city has evolved and developed, despite this happening before most of our lifetimes, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic for the images of those grandiose and ornate buildings of yesteryear.
He then displayed some of the work currently being done towards restoring some of our original building stock, and how they were being made fit for reuse. It was great to see the original, before and then after pictures. Some of the buildings were completely unrecognisable. I struggled to recognise the ones I walk past regularly!
The conclusion was an explanation of the planning of the tentatively named ‘Warehouse Precinct’; and the projects aim to essentially reclaim what is currently a ‘traffic island’ into a more pedestrian friendly area that people want to explore and potentially live in.
I particularly enjoyed the questions, I found out that we actually have a circus in Dunedin! There were obviously some very passionate people in attendance with a keen interest in heritage buildings, I met some really interesting people and had a few brief but insightful conversations.
The talk was arranged by the Southern Heritage Trust, more information on them can be found here. While the DCC revitalisation project currently called the ‘Warehouse Precinct Revitalisation Plan’ can be see here, the plan itself can be viewed and downloaded here.