Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The Voice of the Landscape

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posted on 2022-08-07, 05:23 authored by Gandhi, Chris

The picturesque is dominant in how architecture in Aotearoa New Zealand is understood; architecture is continually viewed as a picturesque object supported by a beautiful landscape. But what if this human-centred way of understanding landscape and architecture was shifted, and landscape was given aesthetic priority? What architectures might emerge? What kind of space would landscape design? In this research, the aesthetic voice of landscape is explored through speculative architectural design projects, distilling architecture that is co-authored between humans and landscape. The design experiments are supported by theories of new materialism and object-oriented ontology, which place importance on the aesthetic agency of things other than us, such as objects or landscapes. In doing so, all hierarchal structures are removed and rather than aesthetics being subjective, considered through taste or pleasure, aesthetics emerges through the encounter between human and more-than-human entities. The research in this thesis adopts a design-as-research methodology that operates through a non-linear design process employing three scales of project: an installation at the scale of the body, a series of mid-scale architectural experiments, on an imaginary, drawn landscape, and a large-scale re-imagination of a police college. The experiments in this process operate through a diverse range of design media that continually shift between analogue and digital techniques, drawing out the landscape’s aesthetic agency through a series of digital and bodily engagements. This research presents a new approach to how architecture and landscape might be related, how they are inseparable, entangled, and mutually informing. It challenges how we understand landscape and architecture in Aotearoa New Zealand, giving the landscape an aesthetic voice.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

280104 Expanding knowledge in built environment and design

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

4 Experimental research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Twose, Simon