Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (46.31 MB)

High Street

Download (46.31 MB)
posted on 2021-12-08, 11:46 authored by Sawicka-Ritchie, Alexandra Maria

High Street addresses the problem of disconnection between high-rise buildings and the life of the street. High-rises are often adopted as an efficient means of creating more usable space per square meter. However, their height also isolates them from the urban milieu below. This thesis investigates how to unite the two typologies by elevating the street through the high-rise. As more people are living in cities, the high-rise has become the most prevalent building type to accommodate this increasing urban density. It is important to continue to address how the built environment can enhance urban life architecturally.  This proposition investigates externalising the circulation of a ten storey apartment building in central Wellington in a way that encourages the pedestrian to come above the ground plane and gives the resident a direct connection to the outdoors. In doing so elevating the street challenges the norms of circulation design in high-rise buildings. This thesis draws on the observations of Jan Gehl, Jane Jacobs and Richard Sennett to develop a circulation space that acts a social condenser (Koolhaas 73) for the resident and the pedestrian. A series of formal experiments and case study analyses were used to further the design solution through comparison and critique. The research process revealed the tension between the need for efficiency and humaneness in the design solution and analysis showed that circulation design in high-rise buildings is often underdeveloped as a social condenser.  High Street creates a solution which three-dimensionalises the city from a pedestrian perspective and simultaneously improves the communal spaces of high-rise living. The elevated street redefines the connection between built environment and the public infrastructure of the city and a means by which the pedestrian can traverse it.


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

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


Kebbell, Sam