Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Architecture Without Expectation: Designing a third place for mental wellbeing in the community

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posted on 2021-12-09, 07:50 authored by Fairbrother, Kezia

In 2018, the government published the report of its inquiry into mental health and addiction in Aotearoa New Zealand, which called for a ‘paradigm shift’ in the country’s approach to mental wellbeing. This research portfolio explores the role architecture has to play in this shift, acknowledging the problematic historical associations of architecture and mental health. In doing so, the work aims to establish principles for a new architectural typology of mental health care, outside of conventional institutions. It explores contemporary approaches to wellness, and integrates research from several bodies of theoretical and evidence-based research into a new creative practice within architecture. Specifically, the research draws on theory around nonrepresentational therapeutic landscapes, third place and evidence based design. These inform creative explorations of the therapeutically affective qualities of naturally-sourced materials. The findings of this explorations are transferred to spatial design using a ‘multiplicity’ approach based on nonrepresentational theory and Māori health models, which is then applied to a specific site in Wellington, New Zealand. Finally, architectural applications for this research are proposed in the form of a community-based third place to support mental health and wellbeing.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Petrovic, Emina; O'Sullivan, Nan; Scott, Rosie