Temporary Use: A Potential Strategy for Historic Buildings At Risk
Tuohy Main, Lilian
Temporary activities or ‘meanwhile’ uses are increasingly recognised as a means of bringing back vibrancy to blighted areas and value to lifeless buildings. They have the potential to increase economic and social value, whilst also making the best use of existing resources. This dissertation seeks to understand the recent phenomenon of temporary occupancy and examine its potential for shifting perceptions around historic spaces that are placed at risk through vacancy. While temporary use is not a new idea, nor is it unique to any particular part of the world, in recent years temporary use has gained formal recognition as a tool in its own right. As utilisation cycles of buildings become faster, space increasingly at a premium and capital more flexible in terms of its physical location, it is inevitable that situations will arise where permanent or resolute solutions for securing heritage are not immediately viable. This study proposes temporary use as a potential tool for navigating this increasing demand for self-reliance. The temporary use of vacant spaces creates a cost effective means of stimulating activity1, greatly improving the prospect of attracting more permanent occupiers or long-term solutions. Ultimately this results in the survival, upkeep and maintenance of existing buildings, which translates into far-reaching economic, social and environmental benefits. Through examining a diverse range of international case studies, where temporary use has been applied specifically to heritage spaces, the dissertation attempts to capture temporary use as a practical process. It looks at methods to ensure temporary use does not pose additional threats, but rather acts as a tool that is exceptionally fit for purpose when dealing with our most endangered heritage - buildings that are vacant, stalled or underutilised - buildings at risk.