Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (81.39 MB)

Verdant Home: Growing Elements of Architecture

Download (81.39 MB)
posted on 2021-11-12, 14:52 authored by Babonnick, Jenny

‘Verdant Home’ explores how the design of residential architecture can evoke the senses through the integration of the garden with the house. This research challenges the use of New Zealand native and exotic plant species as merely an addition to architecture; instead creating stimulating and efficacious verdant elements (components) as part of the architecture. Two concerns provoked investigations into this subject. Firstly, a concern for the gradually occurring loss of vegetation amongst city residences, and secondly a concern for the way in which green elements are often added to buildings, without consideration of how they could sensually transform and improve the aesthetics of space and context. The final refined solution addresses these concerns by incorporating verdant components in an advantageous way, creating a new typology of residential home for New Zealand. Modern architectural technologies allow conventionally separate garden spaces to be integrated with building forms, removing the need for separate garden spaces. These technologies provide humans with the positive environmental benefits of plants within interior spaces. This thesis builds on these benefits, providing ideas for enhancing spatial experiences within the home by merging programmatic use with the pleasurable qualities of gardens. Presented at the outset of the thesis is evidence supporting the physical and mental benefits of everyday human contact with nature. The pursuit for a way in which architecture can encompass verdant elements as integral components of the home is explored through a review of garden history and theory. This review provides specific inspiration for the creation of splendid spaces, spaces which manipulate dimension and materials, sensually practical spaces and statement spaces in the design of a residential home. Following this, buildings from various time periods and locations which innovatively incorporate vegetation are evaluated. An analysis of the New Zealand architectural context and its relationship to gardens is then completed, leading to designs which incorporate all of this research. This thesis challenges the current use of verdant elements such as: living walls, roofs and facades. Whilst these are beneficial technologies, there is potential for them to have an increased atmospheric effect on the spaces they are part of. New aesthetic possibilities are focused on through the designs, which utilise principles of historical garden design typologies to sensually integrate verdant technologies. This results in the creation of aesthetically engaging verdant home solutions.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


McLeod, Warwick