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dc.contributor.authorNunnerley, Ben Hardie
dc.description.abstractRESEARCH QUESTION: How can architecture in the rural landscape support those affected by autism? ABSTRACT: This research investigation focuses on the design of a rural respite facility for autism and those affected by it. Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects approximately 80,000 New Zealanders. It is a condition that impacts learning styles, communication, social interaction and behaviour. Autism is traditionally approached through personal aid and therapy often within dull, clinical environments. Current facilities tend to focus only on the patient while families and stakeholders are disregarded. This project, which looks to address this deficiency, explores the potential benefits of architecture in a natural and rural environment for those affected by autism. Effective architecture will provide an environment in which one feels safe, where the occupants can positively develop well-being amongst healthy surroundings. This is particularly important for those living with/and affected by autism. Over time there has been a growing awareness of the numbers of people with autism and New Zealand has one of the highest rates in the world. A lack of adequate facilities makes life difficult for families and individuals dealing with autism first-hand which can negatively influence these individuals well-being. One of the ways that respites and small communities for autism can function effectively is through a strong connection to the landscape. Studies by Roger S. Ulrich, a Professor of Architecture at Chalmers University in Sweden illustrate that changes to healthcare settings, both through aesthetics and ecology, can improve health outcomes for patients. Ulrich explores the idea of salutogenic design, which suggests that good somatic, psychiatric and emotional health is sustained through the ability to adapt to life’s dynamic circumstances. This can be achieved through the influence of architecture and the ability it has to leverage the connection between occupants and the natural environment. Biophilic design is a field of architectural practice well suited to leveraging and increasing access to organic elements. Through this field, nature and architecture have the potential to provide an environment which supports human well-being. This research investigation poses a series of questions about the relationship between architecture, the natural environment and autism: How has architecture treated its role in the field of Autism Respite? Why is the rural landscape important in terms of well-being? Furthermore, how can architecture in rural landscape help those affected by autism? The notion of Prospect and Refuge provides an overarching means for organising and understanding the relationship between architecture and nature. Refuge is linked in harmony with respite as it evokes a sense of safety and protection from surrounding threats. This has a particular impact on autism as refuge has the ability to remove the stresses and confrontation associated with hypersensitivity and social integration. Salutogenic and biophilic design, along with existing theory on design for autism, has been examined and tested within the context of a natural environment as a means for addressing the lack of support for those affected by autism. Through the use of a range of precedent studies including Rousham by English architect William Kent (1685- 1748) and Respite Folly by Graeme Massie, site analysis and literature review the project explores architectural interventions which can better respond and support the range of needs associated with autism in New Zealand. It also investigates the potentials of a rural landscape and how the landscape can work with architecture to promote human well-being. Through drawing on the range of theoretical concepts identified, the project has resulted in a respite facility that is strongly connected to nature, is deeply informed by knowledge of the needs of those with autism and offers occupants of this facility both a sense of prospect and refuge. SITE:400 Weranui Road, Wainui, Waiweraen_NZ
dc.rightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 New Zealand*
dc.subjectWaiwera, New Zealanden_NZ
dc.subjectNew Zealanden_NZ
dc.subjectAutistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)en_NZ
dc.subjectarchitecture for the autisticen_NZ
dc.subjectbiophilic designen_NZ
dc.subjectAntonovsky, Aaron (1923-1994)en_NZ
dc.titleA rural respiteen_NZ
dc.typeMasters Thesisen_NZ of Architecture (Professional)en_NZ Institute of Technologyen_NZ
dc.subject.marsden120101 Architectural Designen_NZ
dc.subject.marsden111708 Health and Community Servicesen_NZ
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitationNunnerley, B. H. (2020). A rural respite. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from
unitec.institutionUnitec Institute of Technologyen_NZ
dc.contributor.affiliationUnitec Institute of Technologyen_NZ
unitec.publication.placeAuckland, New Zealanden_NZ
unitec.advisor.principalFoote, Hamish
unitec.advisor.associatedMcConchie, Graeme

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