There are a lot of buildings around us that contain a massive amount of history and stories but that are not being used to their full potential. By carefully redeveloping these and adapting them to the needs that we have today, they will be given the possibility to be the scene for more stories and memories now and in the future. Newly developed buildings offer lots of qualities but have not had the time to collect many tales and narratives. The aim of this thesis is to make people reflect on how existing buildings can be changed while still being respected for what they have been and to show why that is something desirable. Some of these buildings are hidden in plain sight and does not beg for attention. Others are visible but not accessible for a lot of people and quite secretive about what is happening behind the locked doors. Making these more open and reachable would invite more people to experience the scenes of past stories and to create their own ones. In this thesis a one-hundred-year-old and cultural-historical valued tobacco factory is used to apply these thoughts. During the decades it has gone through different stages; from being used by one single company where social welfare and belonging were key questions to being rented out to a number of attendants with no relationship to one another. While new structures are currently being built around it, this thesis presents a design proposal for how the factory building could be redeveloped that is based on what has been learnt by thoroughly studying its past as well as its present use.
During my years as an architecture student I have, from time to time, found it hard to motivate myself to only draw new buildings while experiencing that a lot of people seek for something that is definitely not new. My wish is that this thesis will be an eye-opener when it comes to both the importance of preparatory work and thorough studies as well as to the potential that the already existing building stock contains. We live in a quite stressful world but to be fast is not always great. Inspiring tales can be found everywhere, but they can be missed if we do not keep our eyes open. With this thesis I hope to show how and where you can look.
What is gained by thoroughly researching a building before it is remade?
How can a building’s history be shown in a new context?
We live in a profit-driven society and since research requires both time and resources, money often win over cultural-historical values. What is lost is not only a part of history but also often great opportunities to recreate something with qualities that cannot be built in the same way today. These buildings may not always pay off economically right away but in the long run they are often found to be goldmines. The buildings are at our disposal but not all of them are easy to spot or to access. Some of them are hidden well behind locked doors and closed curtains. Usually people have strong opinions regarding change, probably because of the feeling of not being in control. Some structures are saved from demolition by people’s fear of that something will be different while some transformations are stopped because of the very same reason. But if people are not let into the discussion and decisions are made in the dark we lose both trust and historic buildings in the same alarming speed. With that said, it is important to be transparent both with buildings’ past, present and eventual future use while they are standing.
This thesis is divided into three main parts; the past, the present and the future. The first part tells the story of the chosen building’s formation and development. The part called the present describes how it has changed recently and how it is organized today. Finally, the part called the future presents a design proposal of how it could develop from here on.
1: Introduction. 2: The Past. 3: The Present. 4: The Future. 5: Attachments.