Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Bio-body reactor

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posted on 2021-11-14, 05:51 authored by Benck, Ashley

Donna Haraway defines a cyborg as a hybrid creature, composed of part machine and part organism. This thesis asks how the cyborg can be used as a catalyst to reengage the body with architecture. Four key areas are used to explore this proposition; precedent, body, programme and site. Theorist Donna Haraway and Marcos Cruz will be used as precedents to guide this field of inquiry into an architectural form. The design method fluctuates between the analogue and digital, body and machine, and shifting scales. The method is used to design four buildings to test the metaphor of the cyborg through physical models, drawings and digital space. The cross-programming of a biofuel factory with domestic living has been chosen in order to test the translation of the cyborg into architecture. This is explored at different scales; macro, mezzo and micro. At the macro scale, the site of Wellington city, New Zealand, will be explored in terms of rethinking existing parts, as mechanisms, that contribute to the city’s programmatic response to energy generation. The mezzo scale focuses on the translation of the cyborg into usable human scale space. Finally, at the micro scale, the reaction of a surface according to the body will inform the resulting architecture; such as the design of a stair, where the actions of the body are informing the building and vice versa. The conclusion of this thesis is a building that operates as a cyborg which is active to the needs of the human and the city.


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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)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Twose, Simon; Smitheram, Jan