Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Attached: A New Methodology for Medium Density Volume Housing in Auckland

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posted on 2022-07-28, 03:47 authored by Soufflot, Christopher

Housing within our cities has always been an issue for New Zealand; Governments of past and present have tried relentlessly to move people towards the suburbs (Schrader, 2005), but there is something that draws people to the big smoke. Living around the corner from your job can be a saviour on a rainy morning, and your local coffee shop appreciates the business, but there is only so much land that we can occupy with housing. The New Zealand lifestyle pushes us away from high-rise apartments, so how do we as architects work with the increasing influx of people that want to live within our cities.

More and more we are moving to medium density housing large developments of cookie-cutter dwellings that set to minimise land use (“Mediumdensity housing in New Zealand,” 2016). They work well in our cities; Wellington has them scattered through the CBD and Auckland’s innercity suburbs could be defined by them, but do they really work? Does the 3-story terraced house meet the needs of every typology of MDVH occupant?

MDVH commonly follow a standard method of volume housing construction; design one, build, and repeat. The process is a simple yet effective way of mass construction, however with a large variety of occupants, are designs meeting the needs of the wide variety of MDVH occupants?

Attached is an investigative, design-by-research, thesis submitted to the Victoria University of Wellington School of Architecture. The aim of this research is to answer the question: How can Medium Density Volume Housing (MDVH) in Auckland better respond to the needs of the occupant? The outcome is a new system of design that allows for a greater level of occupant inclusion during the pre and during construction processes, alongside a model of MDVH design that allows for a greater level of post-construction adaptability.

This thesis undertakes background research into existing MDVH case studies, literary reviews of existing writings on MDVH, alongside a postoccupation survey of existing MDVH users within the Auckland region. To test outcomes, this thesis uses a series of integrated design tests to ensure realism within findings.

Through final outcomes this research uses the newly developed system to demonstrate how MDVH can better respond to the needs of the occupants in an effective way.


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 Socio-Economic Outcome code

870404 Residential Construction Processes

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Southcombe, Mark