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A Portal Between Spaces

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posted on 23.09.2022, 04:40 authored by Young, Victoria

Thresholds are an inescapable part of the built environment. The tension created by a threshold is important to the success of the conditions on either side of that threshold. However, its importance is often overlooked for its contribution to the following space that is experienced.

The scope of research for this topic is to be defined as a public hotel buildings spatial threshold that user’s walk through and physically interact with. Therefore, these will be the main entrances to buildings along with the changes in material conditions of flooring, walls, ceiling finishes. These will pertain to the interior to exterior and vis versa threshold of a building (residential and commercial). Due to the vastness of this thesis topic and how interiors can be classified, this topic has been simplified to not include landscape or urban interiors but review their role in threshold theory.

Thresholds possess the ability to change a user’s emotions and control their perceptions of exterior and interior conditions (Prasetiyo & Fuad, 2021). The design of these areas is crucial for the success of the building. There is limited discourse on the theory – namely Prasetiyo & Fuad – behind the design and execution of thresholds through the use of materiality in interior architecture. Expanding this research area would benefit those that design and use buildings, better ensuring the building is used to the full extent of its lifetime.

This thesis topic will use the Research Through Design methodology. Research consists of a literature review of peer-reviewed sources and a precedent review through architecture-relevant websites for different threshold types. Information is analysed and synthesised with an emphasis placed on how different materials, lighting qualities, cultures and threshold types influence the user’s emotions. The design phase involves an iterative exploration of thresholds, while simultaneously being informed by performativity and qualitative research methodologies.

The research of thresholds, especially from the emotional perspective of the user, is important as it affects the success of a building and users’ impressions of it. The decreased building alteration frequency requires a captivating threshold that elicits positive emotions and moods from the user and change their initial perceptions. Therefore, this thesis aims to create two scales of threshold interventions to demonstrate how their design can perform this successfully.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Interior Architecture

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Interior Architecture

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

4 Experimental research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Perkins, Natasha