Mat-courtyard housing in Auckland : an alternative typology for intensification developments

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Almukhtar, Mohammed
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Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Turner, David
Rennie, Julian
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Morningside Drive (Morningside, Auckland, N.Z.)
Auckland (N.Z.)
housing in Auckland
casbah concept (architectural design)
courtyard housing
housing density
medium-density housing
New Zealand
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Almukhtar, M. (2019). Mat-courtyard housing in Auckland : an alternative typology for intensification developments. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)).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
RESEARCH QUESTION: Following the ‘compact’ intensification model for Auckland’s growth, how can we use the courtyard house model to provide quality urban housing in future intensification developments? ABSTRACT: The courtyard house stands as one of the oldest house-types that transcended historical, cultural and regional boundaries. It has been able to accommodate and endure various transformation processes without losing its essential core qualities. Besides its history as a vernacular house model, it has also attracted modern architects of the twentieth century to revisit this archetype and rediscover its potentials in urban housing. These experiments were in an attempt to satisfy contemporary socio-cultural needs and to address specific housing issues wherever the courtyard house provided a solution. In Auckland, the city faced the problems of urban sprawl and horizontal growth by implementing intensification strategies for new developments. Increasing density can bring many social, economic, environmental benefits. Nevertheless, it will always come with liabilities, as poorly planned intensifications will bring drastic effects to the living conditions for the residents on many levels. Hence, it becomes more critical for housing intensifications to retain the inherent qualities of the low-density detached models while maintaining the approach to higher densities. The courtyard house shows the capacity to manage these twin pressures effectively, as it has a collection of qualities that combine advantages of the detached house with the characteristics of urban housing models. Furthermore, it can adapt to different climate regions and various contextual conditions. However, it is still not included as an alternative option for medium density developments in Auckland. Thus, this project researches how courtyard house-types can adapt to Auckland’s case and provide quality housing intensification. The project aims to present courtyard house-type as a viable housing typology for future intensifications in Auckland. It also intends to identify the possible urban densities resulting from using this model on a real site in Auckland’s city. That is proposed in the form of a series of research methods, which involved literature surveying for definitions and design strategies, analysis of precedent projects, followed by the design research. The final part designs a prototype of the courtyard house model, and a masterplan guided by strategies, and relevant urban design concepts to achieve an intensification development that incorporates quality amenity values.
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