Benjamin Fraser Benjamin Fraser

Student Spatial 2021 Credits
  • School
    The University of Auckland

Retuning the Fleming’s Factory: A union between music and an industrial factory.

The character and enrichment of New Zealand towns come from the preservation of history. This is realised through the built environment as it shapes the physical embodiment of our past through their form and patina. When historic buildings are preserved it shapes the identity and individuality of our cultural, social, and historical narrative, in particular within rural towns.
This project examines the southern inland town of Gore with its rich tapestry of history defined by agriculture and horticulture.
The Gore district like many rural townships has experienced noticeable change in the past half-century. With the increase of globalisation, causing an accelerated rate of change, socially and economically resulting in a desaturated rural landscape.
The actualisation of this trend is evident in Gore with the closure of the town’s iconic landmark the Fleming’s Creamoata Factory in 2001 from the result of compounding economic factors. The Fleming’s Mill was operational for over a century as a flour mill and developed to process rolled oats for cereal, known as ‘creamoata’. The factory had a long-established history within the region and during the operation, it was a major employer for the town developing Gore into a regional service centre and self-sustaining agricultural community. This project has sought to develop a methodology for the adaptive reuse of the deteriorating Fleming’s Factory.

The factory is currently one third occupied by a livestock feed operation that processes local grains to supply Southland’s south-east farming region. The unused space provides an opportunity to incorporate a new function. This was informed by the cultural and historical research revealing the passion for country music as Gore is recognised as the country music capital of New Zealand, but lack the facilities to foster their creativity and talent.

The conceptual form was developed by analysing design motifs in each historical building on-site which were extrapolated, along with looking at the grains processed in the factory which led to the drawing and abstraction of the oat stalk. This found regularities in the natural form of repetition, curvilinear, and golden rich tones that saturate the landscape surrounding Gore which were used as inspiration.

The intervention proposed preserves the envelope of the existing factory, seismically strengthening the buildings in a sympathetic manner while retaining the heritage qualities of the site. The project integrates new functions of a theatre, music studios, café, bar, hotel, retail and markets while remediating the factory. The modern extension uses the adaptive reuse principles of 'juxtapostion' & 'intersection', this takes into consideration the existing buildings character and qualities while integrating contemporary architectural forms. The reactivation of the site has created a lively multipurpose complex for the community to re-engage with this building as they once did and extended the life of the Fleming’s Factory into the modern era.