Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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posted on 2021-11-22, 23:49 authored by Piątek, Tomek

Ōtaki Beach is an example of a small town by the sea romanticised by many New Zealanders, yet it suffers for not being able to grow without resorting to greenfield development and subdivision. Its coarse urban grain and wide roads prioritise cars and promote a sprawl of low-density, impermeable suburban blocks. Still, the old houses have their charm.  This thesis explores how we can grow the population of Ōtaki Beach without resorting to further greenfield development. Early design experiments centred on large multi-residential structures sited in surrounding landscapes. The final proposal though, developed in the context of adaptive reuse, focuses on exploring the potential of a single block that serves as an example.  The design experiments led to three main strategies. Firstly, unification of existing outdoor spaces generates shared landscape. Secondly, transverse pathways add permeability and refine block grain. Thirdly, selective preservation, unification and vertical stacking of existing structures constitute the formal strategy that increases density without consuming more land and gives rise to a specific architectural expression.  Final design achieves: 4-fold increase in density, taking it from 63 people/km² to over 252 people/km²; refined block grain and permeability, by growing the number of public pathways from zero to three; over 3000m² of shared landscape.


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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)

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Title

Intensification of a housing block in Otaki Beach through adaptive reuse

Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Kebbell, Sam; Allan, Penny