Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The Sensorial Latency of Urban Spaces

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posted on 2021-12-06, 23:36 authored by Kanagaratnam, Dylan

Architecture provides the platform for the inherent connections between people and their city to flourish. The urban realm naturally invites diverse people to inhabit and interact together, giving city life its vibrancy. Urban spaces encourage spontaneous interactions between people and with architecture, to produce creative acts of play and liberating moments of leisure. It has been suggested that these events encapsulate the everyday performance of the city and are the antithesis to everyday life. It is argued this performance is often ignored in modern urban design. It has been noted that Wellington’s waterfront offers areas where momentary and impotent engagement can be developed into meaningful experiences.  Simultaneously, the importance and potency of sound within urban spaces may be undervalued. It is often argued that modern cities assault our senses with sounds leading to discomfort and distracted inhabitation, contributing to a lack of engagement. Urban sounds are commonly dampened in public spaces to combat this assault, but with more thoughtful design these sounds can be reinterpreted to augment the innate everyday performances. This thesis proposes that controlling how people experience urban sounds through architecture can create a deep sensory performance that increases engagement, awareness and interaction.  This research explores ways to harness the latent sounds of the city to form meaningful connections between people and their city while providing moments of play and leisure. Once isolated and harnessed, the urban sounds’ unique and intrinsic power can aid the development of urban spaces, thus producing greater significance within the urban fabric. There will be focus on the connection between the senses, performance and the urban context. The opportunity to enable the acceptance of the environment and reflection on their city marks an important role within the urban fabric.  Concurrently, this research explores how an intuitive drawing-led process can integrate and challenge the boundaries of both interior and the exterior urban realm. Other interior architectural strategies, together with soundscape design and urban interior principles aid this interdisciplinary exploration.


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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 Interior Architecture

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Campays, Philippe