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Victoria University of Wellington

1. Wong, Chun. Overlapping Perspectives.

Degree: 2019, Victoria University of Wellington

All urban sites around the world have their own unique, evolving historical identity. However, this identity can often become obscured, or even lost, over time due to the progressive changes that occur to the transforming urban context. An urban site's evolution may include newly reclaimed land, conflicting grid alignments as new roads are added, new buildings being constructed that fail to reaffirm site identity in relation to existing conditions and historic buildings that become re-purposed with a subsequent loss of their original architectural identity. The site selected for this design research investigation is Queens Wharf in Wellington. Located in the heart of New Zealand's capital city, where land meets sea at the center line of the city's skyline, Queens Wharf occupies one of the most important sites in the capital. However, the principal problem of this site is its lack of coherent place identity. This problem has arisen in relation to five main factors: 1) very large, anonymous new metal shed buildings have been added in poor relationships with historic masonry and timber ones; 2)heritage buildings have been re-purposed, and their interior programmes are no longer represented by their architectural facades; 3) enormous, contemporary, and very unattractive buildings such as the TSB Arena house programmes that change throughout the year, preventing the exterior architecture from providing identity to what is happening within; 4) a confluence of conflicting grids has developed over time at this site; and 5) Queens Wharf's important location at the edge of city and sea near the center line of the city's skyline provides a significant opportunity for this site to act as a visual gateway to the capital city, but this opportunity remains unfulfilled. The thesis proposes that architecture can play an essential role in establishing place identity for Queens Wharf by: 1) implicating historic architectural features into new architectural interventions – so that the historic buildings are fundamentally important to understanding the new and vice versa – by integrating the new and the old in ways that present all the stages of the site’s evolution as important chapters in its overall tale; 2) exposing interior programmes to the outside to establish architectural identity through programmatic visibility; 3) establishing new architectural interventions as 'pivots' to help make sense of conflicting grid alignments; 4) arranging architectural interventions as a framing device and an important liminal threshold between the opposing conditions of land and sea. Advisors/Committee Members: Brown, Daniel.

Subjects/Keywords: Inside-out; Place identity; Historical features

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APA (6th Edition):

Wong, C. (2019). Overlapping Perspectives. (Masters Thesis). Victoria University of Wellington. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Wong, Chun. “Overlapping Perspectives.” 2019. Masters Thesis, Victoria University of Wellington. Accessed August 24, 2019.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Wong, Chun. “Overlapping Perspectives.” 2019. Web. 24 Aug 2019.


Wong C. Overlapping Perspectives. [Internet] [Masters thesis]. Victoria University of Wellington; 2019. [cited 2019 Aug 24]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Wong C. Overlapping Perspectives. [Masters Thesis]. Victoria University of Wellington; 2019. Available from: