Siheyuan: Refurbishing an Auckland Childcare Centre Using Traditional Chinese Courtyard Typologies
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Cities can be alienating places for children. In the fast processes of urbanization children are often deprived of the opportunity to be part of a local social environment. In this study, I use Chinese courtyard spaces as a model for redesigning a rooftop daycare centre in Durham Street, in Auckland CBD. I have developed and presented my design concept for a kindergarten in the form of a visual narrative. I employed a mixed methods approach drawing on aspects of the Design Thinking methodology and visual storytelling. The narrative comic book exhibited as the culmination of this project conveys the social world of children in the courtyard kindergarten, expressing life situations, instead of pure architectural design. This exegesis is divided into five chapters: an introduction, a discussion of siheyuan courtyards and contemporary kindergarten spaces, a discussion of my methodology and methods, an account of my design development, and a conclusion pointing to the outcomes of my research. I hope through this work to demonstrate first, the value of siheyuan for reimagining childcare spaces; and second, the value of narrative techniques for describing living spaces.