Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The Nature of Enticement

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posted on 2021-12-07, 01:03 authored by Williams, Molly

As the world’s population rapidly becomes significantly more urban than rural, the structures that enable urban adapted living can also become a barrier between humans and the living ecosystems they are a part of and have evolved within. It is becoming increasingly apparent that urbanisation in its current form, which tends to entail a disconnection with nature is having negative impacts on the minds and bodies of residents (such as excessive stress, headaches and fatigue).   This thesis explores the theories of biophilia and how architects can respond to the adverse effects of urbanisation on humans by applying biophilic concepts to the built environment; this being biophilic design. The research investigates how to invite people into designed spaces that connect them with the immediate ecosystem, the outcomes that are felt on the mind and body. Specifically, biophilic principles and the articulation of the nature of a space is explored regarding their importance for reducing stress, encouraging relaxation and restoring cognitive functions, to potentially ignite a ripple effect that can change the way in which we live our daily lives in urban settings.   Wellington, New Zealand has been identified as a global ‘biophilic city’ and is the chosen site for this design-led thesis, which tests how an area largely devoid of nature can be redesigned and used in a positive way to entice and draw people through space. The intention is to further enhance the connections made between the existing biophilic interventions and ultimately improve the holistic health of those who experience the urban setting.   A set of biophilic criteria are developed and used in the design, with the outcome of this design exploration being a collaborative Ecologies Design Lab where professionals and students from different disciplines can come together for the collective goal of forwarding urban biophilic practice research. In addition to this, the intervention is designed to encourage the public to interact with the building, widening the scope of the building and targeted demographic. The investigation of aspects in biophilic design and how this can draw people through and beyond the immediate site to existing biophilically alive spots in other parts of the city is examined in correlation with other complementary theories such as narrative design, interior architecture principles, landscape architecture and founding architectural principles. The research aims to propose a journey throughout the city intent on initiating the healing process that occurs as people experience a connection with nature, either literally or metaphorically.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Master of Architecture (Professional)

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

University Library

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Pedersen-Zari, Maibritt