Groundcover: Investigating an ecological field-architecture
With many traditional conservation approaches becoming outdated and inefficient this project looks at the role of architecture in facilitating forward thinking, system based conservation aimed at high levels of self-organization. Through the consolidation of architecture, with concerns relating to ecological conservation, landscape ecology and landscape architecture new approaches to the development of New Zealand’s conservation estate are explored. Adopting the backcountry (DoC) hut as an anti-precident, the existing apathetic approach to the development and care of New Zealand’s conservation estate is critiqued through design research. This thesis looks at the possibility of integrating a system of structures into the landscape at Nga Potiki reserve (South Wairarapa, New Zealand) which, through both their architecture, and programme, actively advance the restoration and invigoration of the site’s ecologies. With the aim of expanding public ecological literacy the structures provide habitation, and importantly, the opportunity for visitors to engage with and understand the significance of the forces that drive natural ecologies. In doing so it aims to investigate the possibility of assimilating ecological conservation into architectural built form.