Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Bazaar in the 'Burbs: Infilling fine grain of activity in the course grain context of Paraparaumu

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Version 2 2023-09-22, 01:20
Version 1 2021-11-15, 23:59
posted on 2023-09-22, 01:20 authored by Zhu, Yan Xin

The regional townships of New Zealand are losing young people. The township of Paraparaumu, located along the Kapiti Coast, is no exception. As a sprawling, low-density suburban settlement with its town center being Coastlands Shopping Center - the local mall - there are few job opportunities available. As a result, many early career adults choose to settle elsewhere. Tasked with creating more opportunities, the Kapiti Coast District Council plans to build a new commercial district. To make space for it, this will be done by paving over a large expanse of wetland adjacent to the mall.  The premise of this thesis is that generating opportunities do not have to be large scale. In more dense urban areas where space is limited, many productive activities occur within the fine grain of a city. Wetlands are also recognized as a critical natural infrastructure and a valuable social amenity. Thus, instead of building large commercial facilities that have to occupy the wetland, the design in this thesis proposes a facility made up of a finer grain and infills the glut of car park spaces in front of Coastlands Mall. The parking spaces displaced will be relocated into a parking tower adjacent to the site.  The building type of the Bazaar was looked at in this thesis as a model, for it is fine-grained and also ingrained with its urban context. The spatial network of the Bazaar democratizes access. The spatial network of the Bazaar democratizes access, which is a direct contrast to the singular and hierarchical nature of the mall. The design adopts these ideas and expresses them through a network of modules on a tartan grid plan transforming the design into a rhythmic series of spaces that express compression and expansion, allowing it to be an interlinked network of interior and exterior spaces.  The grid is a powerful tool for organizing expanses of space though it is only useful in an architectural sense when accompanied by a fine-grained variation. Though the repetitive grid is suitable in plan, as a 3d form it quickly dissolves into monotony when repeated across a field. Similarly, the site itself is inherently charged with spatial hierarchy. Thus, localized adjustments of the roof and exterior details were made to break the monotony and rest the spatial hierarchy.  This thesis explores how fine grain activity can be integrated into a large-grained context through the use of an additive, modular network set on a grid. Though the research findings produced on expression of this in the design outcome, the idea of a dense, fine-grained modular network is applicable in any context that has large inactive open space to be filled.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

CC BY-NC 4.0

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Kebbell, Sam