Mesh Architecture: A Design Strategy for Regenerating Relationships to More-Than-Human Entities

Collis, Todd
Yates, Amanda
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Master of Architecture (Professional)
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Auckland University of Technology

This architectural design thesis discusses the themes of indigenous culture and relational ecology within architectural design, ecological site mappings, and the development of an architectural design strategy termed Mesh Architecture. The aim of this thesis is to ask the question, how can Mesh Architecture improve the wellbeing of more-than-human entities in Aotearoa (New Zealand)? This thesis discusses the relationships between indigenous people groups, European colonial empire expansion, anthropogenically caused global climate change, and architecture. Examining the ways in which indigenous cultures interact with their natural environments through cultural practices, an argument for relational ecological worldviews is given. Based on writings from both authors of indigenous heritage and writers of European origin, Mesh Architecture is offered as an alternative design practice incorporating these two worldviews. This practice is then tested through a theoretical architectural design in Rotorua. A research process of mapping, including informational spatial mappings, diagrammatic mesh maps, and hikoi (walking) maps are employed to evaluate a site of architectural development. This site is critically explored to discover existing ecological relationships which inform the conceptual design programme. Mesh Architecture is then tested through the design of a community centre located on the boundary between suburban township and natural landscape, and through the design of an awa (river) pathway spanning the Waingaehe awa. Employing Mesh Architecture in Architectural practice has demonstrated that by using this design strategy, architecture is encouraged to be ecologically regenerative, the needs of more-thanhuman entities are incorporated into urban spaces, and relationships between humans and morethan-humans are strengthened. This results in architecture which begins to decolonise urban spaces, encouraging traditional indigenous cultures to have more agency within the deeply ingrained colonial culture of Aotearoa

Architecture , Anthropocene , Colonisation , Relational ecology , Mapping , Mesh
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