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Existential Experiences of Human & Nature Symbiosis: Experiential Architecture for Motivation of Environmentally Responsible Behaviour

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posted on 31.10.2021, 23:52 by Rainger, Harrison

The deterioration of natural environments since the industrial revolution is a consequence of humanity’s ignorance of their symbiosis with broader biological ecosystems and the behaviours that have arisen from this lack of awareness. Today, there is urgent global demand for societies to address this issue by shifting toward pro-environmental systems and behaviours to ensure natural resources are secured for future generations.

This research proposes that there is a potential for architecture to contribute to this shift by providing an experience that raises awareness of the symbiosis that human beings exist within and motivates people to behave with greater responsibility toward the environment. Taking an interdisciplinary approach by exploring principles of psychology and architectural theory, this work engages with architectural concepts of transcendence, phenomenology, atmosphere, memory and emotion, sense of place and biophilia in ways that positively affect intellectual and emotional dimensions of the human psyche.

A design framework is developed from this, and a subsequent range of methods are developed and tested at various levels of resolution. Ultimately, this research arrives at a design methodology that can shape an architectural experience that serves a higher purpose of motivating behavioural change in society toward greater environmental responsibility. It speculates on a potentially new form of public architecture that unifies the human spirit with nature and interrelated systems.


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Date of Award



Victoria University of Wellington - Te Herenga Waka

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Victoria University of Wellington - Te Herenga Waka

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


Petrovic, Emina; Dudding, Michael