An urban verge: Designing an adaptable events centre

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Williams, Sam
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Bogunovich, Dushko
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
events centre design
organic architecture
Auckland CBD (N.Z.)
waterfront architecture
waterfront redevelopment
New Zealand
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Williams, S. (2009). An urban verge: Designing an adaptable events centre. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)).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 QUESTIONS: Why have I chosen to design an environmentally sustainable building? What principles of design would make an events centre on the waterfront more sustainable? To what extent can these principles be incorporated into a real world brief and site? How does my project fit within the Auckland CBD currently, and how might the building respond to future changes in climate and context? Le Corbusier thought of buildings as “machines for living in"(1), an architecture that would functionally respond to our needs and work with our lifestyles. The 'machine' paradigm of building is one that is internally driven, self-contained, utilizing artificial systems for cooling and lighting, and using energy resources without regard for environmental consequences. Now, more than eighty years after this analogy, should we still be comparing our buildings to machines? We seem to be at a turning point. A new architecture is beginning to emerge that instead envisions buildings as kinetic organisms. This new archetype is able to move and adapt in response to its environment. It is architecture that recognizes that it is actively integrated with its surroundings, while also potentially self powered and 'off the grid'. This new thinking has increased in significance as environmental sustainability is now recognized as a paramount objective in architecture worldwide. My project balances the interactions between theory, design, and the circumstances of a real brief and site in the area of architecture. The brief chosen is the design of an adaptable events centre on the viaduct waterfront for the client Auckland City Council. There are many design principles that have emerged with this new form of organic architecture; I have focussed on four guiding principles in my design which are; diversified lifetimes, flexible spaces, adaptable design and kinetic architecture. These principles provided a framework in which a process of design was enabled and tested in an urban verge - the design of an adaptable events centre. 1. Le Corbusier, Towards a New Architecture (Dover Publications, 1986), 69, Richard Rogers, Cities for a Small Planet, ed. Philip Gumuchdjian, 1 vols. (London: Faber and Faber, 1997), 163-64.
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