Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Living in the past: extending the villa interior for contemporary lives

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posted on 2024-06-06, 03:17 authored by Abbie Jones

Living in the Past” is a thesis that delves into the nuanced exploration of Victorian villas in New Zealand and examines the historical significance and evolution of the villa while contextualizing them within the framework of regionalism and using this framework to propose design solutions for the contemporary villa with a focus on the architectural interior.

This will unfold in a two-part analysis.

Part one will unfold in 3 chapters and will delve into the historical context of the villa and provides a foundational understanding of these iconic structures.

The third chapter will introduce regionalism, examining the roots of the ever-changing architectural style proposing a customized version tailored to New Zealand’s cultural and geographic specifics, aligning with attitudes towards heritage and examining contemporary case studies. From this, the fourth chapter will address the contemporary status of the Villa and the challenges unfolding, including issues including aging infrastructure and sustainability while examining case studies that have addressed these issues in different regions and showcase the innovative planning and material relationships, reflecting regional variations, intertwining with planning and material choices.

Part Two will form two major parts. Chapter five will summarize the information discovered in the previous part and introduce the methodology that underpins the design process. This will include the base model and drawing set, informed by historical research, regionalism, and sustainability considerations, lay the groundwork for the subsequent design phase, (which is chapter six), to address historical insights, intelligent contextualization, and contemporary design considerations into region-specific solutions for Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin. Drawing on regional movements, incorporating historical features, and applying regionalist concepts, this section proposes cohesive approaches for re-imagining Victorian villas to meet modern living standards with a specific application to the architectural interior.

“Living in the Past” emerges as a holistic journey that seamlessly connects historical roots to contemporary design, contributing to the ongoing dialogue on the preservation and adaptation of architectural heritage in New Zealand alongside the place of the villa in the architectural interiors.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Interior Architecture

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Interior Architecture

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

120205 Residential construction design

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Wood, Peter