Ruins to Riches - Adaption and Conservation
Architecture endures and withholds the philosophy of the societal movement that created them. History itself will survive, but the physical elements that pertain history, like most things, are temporal. Decay is inevitable and how we react to it is important, if left to ruins, the connection between character and historic importance begins to blur. To maintain these important values within architecture, and the archaeological sites they lie on, we need to invoke reactive approaches to adapt these structures to become compatible with their ever-changing surroundings and societies.
The Warkworth Cement Works lie dilapidated, in piles of rubble, overgrown vegetation and confined to a fence-line, slowly crumbling into the memory of our past. A new, drastic, approach is needed to ensure this monumental structure keeps its well-deserved existence intact. This initiates the question of ‘how can architecture provide a holistic approach to retain an existing structure but increase its worth to a community?’.
Over years of abandonment the natural environment has taken over, the overgrown vegetation establishes the notion of hiding and revealing. Views of buildings are partially obscured, providing a blurred but distinct contrast of natural and man-made. Derived from this idea the proposed design concept takes the natural formation, grounding it at a singular point and splaying it outwards as it ascends its way up the building. With the use of perforated corten sheets, the semi-transparent facade imitates a trees canopy and although the buildings outline is still visible, the addition provides depth and the will for further investigation.
Heritage conservation should be directed towards place and the genius loci associated with the communities affected in order to gain acceptance. Therefore the architect's role is to create solutions in which people can feel a part of. Today in our democratic society, people have a say, but they do not attain an emotional or physical part to play. Here we approach the ‘Cement Works’ differently. By taking advantage of the agricultural presence in the region and applying an increased level of social involvement, the proposal of a community driven, destination winery is formed. This inclusive strategy ensures the acceptance of the alterations and additions made, giving the project support and viability.
Local families and farmers are encouraged to use their unoccupied land to plant a small number of vines to provide the new winery with additional fruit. In addition, the vines on site are developed using ancient viticulture theory, 'terroir', in order to express the site's character and spirit into something we can taste and experience. In turn the wine becomes a voice of the place.