Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Enriching the Envelope Experience

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posted on 2021-09-20, 01:50 authored by Martin, Emily

Enriching the Envelope Experience is a design strategy for an external retrofit to revitalise existing housing. The aim is to create warmer, drier, healthier homes without having to displace the occupants.

For many New Zealander’s, inefficient housing is negatively affecting occupant health and wellbeing.

Preventable health issues place pressure on healthcare systems, costing valuable resources. The climate, housing, and healthcare crisis desperately require improvements to existing housing for warmer, healthier, and happier homes. Currently, the design of New Zealand housing is inefficient for climate resulting in uncomfortable living conditions. There is a global dependence on finite resources, and the ongoing resource use will reach capacity. Desperate attention to the environmental and economic impact is needed to sustain the precious resources. NewZealand is obligated to reach the 2050 climate goals.

The design of buildings needs attention to mitigate the 39% carbon emissions by the construction industry and achieve net-zero carbon housing goals.

Lengthy rebuilds require displacing people from their homes and communities and increase the demand for housing and resources. The demolition and rebuild further adds to the significant waste issue.

Therefore, there is an opportunity to improve the existing housing stock as a readily available resource.

The 1940s-1960s State House is a standardized housing typology mass-produced in New Zealand, and often of poor condition, it was an appropriate site to investigate for a retrofit design strategy.

A design framework informed by sustainable design standards, case studies and understanding of the 1940s-1960s house typology directed the design process. The research outcome resulted in an external wall design strategy to improve the occupants’ home experience.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

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


Pelosi, Antony