Democratized living : an examination of how digital tools in the use of a transitional shelter can affect building methods.

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Contractor, Rohini
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Murphy, Chris
McPherson, Peter
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Christchurch (N.Z.)
New Zealand
Christchurch 2010-2011 earthquakes
do-it-yourself (DIY)
transitional shelters
collaborative design
modular housing
open source
NZS3604 Building Code
Contractor, R. (2018). Democratized living : an examination of how digital tools in the use of a transitional shelter can affect building methods. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)).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
Issues of lower quality architecture those who need it most have been around for decades. States of emergency, such at the 2010 Christchurch earthquake, see the production of architectural solutions to provide immediate response. These methods however can often lead to compromise in quality for speed. Shelters often fail to acknowledge its user personally and the afterlife beyond its temporary use. This calls for a transitional shelter that can serve people in need quickly and allow for modification by its user so it can be adapted into a permanent dwelling. The democratisation of digital tools and open source methods are introducing modes of construction that allow non-professionals to participate in a seemingly exclusive field. Projects such as Wikihouse are developing an infrastructure for open collaboration which empower the community to self-build as a part of an integrated work flow. The design of an open source transitional shelter will use a kiwi DIY culture to assist the growth of the maker movement in New Zealand. For an approachable way of building that contests conventional methods, the system must allow anyone to be involved regardless of skill level. Utilising commonly available materials and a combination of conventional methods with digital accuracy will make the design accessible all around New Zealand. Simplifying assembly processes alongside prefabrication means faster construction and ease for the self-builder. Testing through rapid prototyping ensures the design removes any flaws before delivery. However, digital tools must be integrated in a way that allows for collaboration and does not specialise in the way architecture has done in the past. If the system is successful it can eliminate lower quality architecture for those who cannot afford and encourage use of the open collaborative process to beneficial to communities.
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