Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Suburban Forestry: An Investigation into the Reuse of Native Timber in Aotearoa

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posted on 2023-03-16, 03:26 authored by Hannah, Alexander

Cities in Aotearoa are undergoing a rapid increase in density as a response to the national housing crisis. As a result, the production of building materials and large-scale demolition create mass carbon emissions and vast quantities of waste, exacerbating the ongoing global environmental crisisAs density and demolition have increased, the country’s older housing stock has declined. Notably, the large quantity of state houses built throughout the 1930s-50s has seen a steady decrease. Rapid clearance of these houses to provide space for new government builds has sent much of the native timber with which these houses are constructed to landfills. As logging of native trees has essentially disappeared in Aotearoa, due to the historical depletion of forests, any native timber that ends up as demolition waste is unlikely to be replaced.

This thesis examines how architectural solutions can facilitate the preservation and reuse of this native timber. Through an iterative design exploration, this research examines how heritage and sustainability can be explored through material reuse. Physical and speculative investigations have informed an understanding of the qualities of reused native timber and how these influence the design process.


Copyright Date


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

120603 Management of solid waste from construction activities

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


Willocks, Victoria