Residential Palimpsest: A Novel Dimension To City Sustainability
Free (open access)
Wellington’s city centre residential population has increased nearly threefold in the past twelve years to over seven thousand people. About two-thirds of city dwellers live in new apartments on the top of or within converted buildings. Apartments on top of buildings may be considered as a form of palimpsest in the conceptual sense of introducing a new layer. The new city residents make a significant contribution to the increased social vitality and economic activity of the centre. Restaurants, convenience stores and retail business have opened to service the population and give new life at the pedestrian level of buildings. By comparison with demolishing existing buildings to make way for new construction, ‘residential palimpsest’ literally builds on and uses the existing infrastructure. It generates relatively low-cost residential densification with little disruption. Architectural heritage and sense of urban place is largely sustained with this typology, though theoretical questions about architecture as object are raised when the design ‘integrity’ of the existing building is challenged by the addition, especially when visual compatibility is low. City centre residents mostly walk to their place of employment. They have the lowest car ownership in Wellington, thereby reducing motor vehicle impact on the city and studies elsewhere would suggest that with regular exercise as pedestrians their health is better than the general population. Residential palimpsest is enhancing the liveability of Wellington in a sustainable way improving environmental, quality of life and economic outcomes. The model could transfer to other cities. Keywords: apartments on top of existing buildings, palimpsest, typology, layering, city sustainability, liveability.
apartments on top of existing buildings, palimpsest, typology, layering, city sustainability, liveability.