Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Adaptive Nature: Shelter in Remote Environments

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posted on 2022-07-28, 02:57 authored by Laurenson, Benjamin

Many days are spent by New Zealanders’ tramping in the hills of the great outdoors, arriving at the end of the day to a small, quaint but “cold until the fire is lit” hut as the resting place for the night. These huts are a valuable national resource with a limited lifespan. A large number of the existing back country Department of Conservation (DOC) huts in the New Zealand National Parks have already disappeared or are reaching the end of their lives. Ideally some of the remaining huts will be restored and maintained for future generations. It is also inevitable though that many will either need to be replaced, repaired or removed at some stage in the future as more become derelict.

Additionally, there is an increase in tourists discovering the New Zealand natural landscape which is resulting in new trails being developed or existing trails being upgraded to “Great Walks”. This requires larger facilities to be provided to accommodate the overnight visitor numbers on those trails. For example, the recent announcement of DOC’s proposal to develop the Paparoa National Park as the 10th Great Walk of New Zealand, which will require two new huts to be built, illustrates this situation. (1)DOC’s networks of huts are important to support both New Zealanders love of the outdoors and New Zealand’s economic development through the tourism industry. However they require resources to both maintain and develop. To make DOC’s limited resources go as far as possible it is necessary that any developments are undertaken efficiently, while still ensuring they are fit for purpose and integrate into the environment.

This has raised the question of whether there is a scalable model that could be utilised by DOC to enable the hut network to be developed efficiently, while still being fit for purpose within the specific context. By making use of new design and manufacturing tools, as well as technology becoming increasingly more advanced and accessible, it is proposed that a modular parametric system, designed around specific criteria, that responds to each sites context can be developed to solve this issue.


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

870499 Construction Processes not elsewhere classified

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Sweet, Kevin