UBC Graduate Research

The Wellington Destructor V4 : Productive Futures for Superannuated Infrastructures Whitten, Trevor


Over the past 150 years, urban areas have been actively combating the problem of garbage and its relation to the city. This has lead to civic movements, protests and environmental consciousness. Over the decades the development of new technologies, materials and public awareness have shaped how and where we deal with this inevitable urban problem. In recent years the detrimental effects of garbage have been suppressed from public consciousness, as the impacts of waste are pushed further out of the city limits. Since the conception of waste management infrastructure, the ambition of these systems has been to carry out tasks with efficiency, comfort and convenience. Ensuring these conditions has contributed to the externalization of territories of waste from within cities. While this perception of infrastructure has served the general population well, it has also obscured the many less favourable realities of these systems. As society trends towards a more sustainable future, this thesis looks for new ways to engage material waste within the public realm. Through the adaptive reuse of a 1920’s era garbage incinerator known as the Wellington Destructor, the project employs the building as a new kind of infrastructure oriented around alternative solutions to waste diversion. Opportunistic adaptations to the building’s spaces facilitate circular economies of waste, while also creating new opportunities for public engagement with the building’s past and proposed future.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International