Waikune: A New Life for an Old Prison

Chenxu Huang

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The existing Waikune Prison

How a contemporary architectural response could revitalise a forgotten building with a tough past.

This paper focusing on the Waikune Prison on the Volcanic Plateau, investigates adaptive reuse of a neglected prison complex, as an important strategy towards the conservation of built and cultural heritage.

This paper focuses on studying different design strategies in adaptive reuse of historic buildings. Through literature reviews, case studies and by investigating theories of conservation movements and contemporary approaches to adaptive reuse, this paper will demonstrate that a clear design strategy is key to revitalising abandoned and neglected buildings. A clear design strategy will identify the aims for preservation of the existing building and how new interventions and additions can be added that are clearly distinguished from the old. The abandoned building’s past can be respected and a new future facilitated within a new use.

Entry View Water Color Web Size
Existing Waikune Prison from the highway view (autumn)

The Waikune prison in the Tongariro region of the Volcanic Plateau, has been abandoned for more than 30 years. Through research on its past and exploring new uses I hope to demonstrate a possible solution to my research question. The history, environment, context, structure, material, previous function and the proposed function will be analysed comprehensively as they are important preparatory work before investigating the suitable design strategy.

Exisiting Condition
Current condition of the old prison and surrounding environment
New Program Exo View
Outdoor recreational center with accommodation as the new program for the existing complex (winter)
Point View From Entrance Of New Museum
Point view from the entrance of the new museum
Interior Of Museum
Interior of the museum
Interior Of Ruin Tunnel
Interior of the ruin tunnel
Interior Of New Reception Connets With Two Cell Blocks
Interior of the new reception connects with two old cell blocks
View Of Reflecting Pool From The New Restaurant The Existing Boiler House
View of the reflecting pool from the new restaurant (the existing boiler house)
New Thermal Bath Pool In The Surrounding Landscape
New thermal bath pool in the surrounding landscape