Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Sensing Home; Creating a Framework for Haptic Living

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posted on 2021-11-10, 21:55 authored by Kolmer, Sophie

This thesis looks at developing a new method of designing small living spaces using the sensory body. It intends to re-imagine ways to provide a unique experience for each occupant, while offering a new perspective on how interior architectures can be designed for living in.

In the context of a rising housing crisis and with a specific lack of accommodation for students and young professionals, living in smaller spaces is fast becoming a necessity. A large body of research into the design methods utilised for smaller living within city centres expose an omission of the senses for the greater part of the process.

This research looks at a re-thinking of interior design processes where factoring the senses takes precedence over other considerations. More specifically the role of the sense of touch as the primary motivator is considered, supported by the sense of sight as its secondary factor. A series of experiments explore the ways the body interacts with surfaces, and how tactile qualities can define a space and create form. These lead to the making of a framework for design which in turn is tested through the creation of the interior of a small dwelling. This design-led research challenges the ways in which touch is used to design and reimagines ways in which small living spaces are created, with a focus on the senses.

Key words: Interior architecture, Exploration of the senses, Touch, Tactile design methods, Design framework, Small space living


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 Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Campays, Philippe