Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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For Soil: An exploration on how architectural experience can contribute to soil regeneration

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posted on 2023-12-14, 21:07 authored by Phoebe Slessor

As cities have become visually and physically disconnected from food sources, urban consumers are unaware of the environmental consequences of mass food production. This perpetuates mainstream support for industrial agricultural farming, despite expert warnings that we have just 60 years of farmable soil left. The disconnect between urban consumers and their food sources has paralysed cities from collective action towards regenerative farming solutions. This thesis seeks to bridge the gap between cities and farms by addressing soil degradation in an urban context. Through utilising the artistic abilities of architecture to connect urban consumers, the research explores how to influence behaviour and inspire change towards a regenerative agriculture movement. The design aims to create an emotional and personal connection towards the impacts of mass food production and incite a sense of urgency and responsibility within this issue. This is achieved by exploring a three stage intervention process: two sequential urban interventions of contrasting experiences, followed by a pavilion design to facilitate behavioural changes towards supporting soil. The research and application are pursued behind the motivation to reinstate nature as an entity that we must nourish before it can nourish us. A staged methodology uses design-led research to translate industrial agriculture, against regenerative agriculture, through sequential spatial experiences. The findings are applied within the context of Courtney Place, utilising contextual findings to inform a site-specific experience. The outcome intends to provide an architectural framework of how urban consumers can be connected to agricultural impacts to incite pro-environmental behaviour. Finally, providing spaces to embody both urgency and comfort to facilitate a paradigm shift within urban consumer behaviour. This thesis suggests an application of architectural conventions to contribute towards the solution around soil degradation, address the disconnect between cities and farming impacts, and realise a role architecture must play in igniting a paradigm shift towards pro-environmental behaviour.


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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 Socio-Economic Outcome code

280104 Expanding knowledge in built environment and design

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

4 Experimental research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Language


Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Chicca, Fabricio