Building on a Wobbly Foundation: A Post-(Sub).Urban Dream Brokerage in Green Bay

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An investigation into post-suburban development above the Green Bay Shops

1. What is the architect's role as suburbia changes to post-suburbia in Tāmaki Makaurau?

2. How can Post-(Sub). Urban shared community spaces facilitate suburban design (and architectural) conversations with everyday New Zealanders?

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This thesis project investigates the changing character and role of suburbia in our current social and built context. There are fast-paced changes to the established urban patterns of Aotearoa, New Zealand, which were formed between the two world wars. This study has aimed to find out what may be worth saving from our ‘suburban dream’ now that we are almost 100 years from those foundations.

Where lies the locus of community activity in our suburb?
Does it live here?
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Does this count as good development?

This investigation has focused on two strategies / architectural interventions to frame this conversation for the locals of the established suburb of Green Bay (West Auckland).

Both interventions interact with the existing context of the Green Bay Shops.

— An everyday locus of suburban life.

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Experiential collage and elevation of the Green Bay Shops.
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Site planning above the Green Bay Shops.

The Conversation Room sits between the two strategies.

1. A New Landscape located at the main social hub of the suburb (strip of shops).
2. The preservation and raising of an iconic suburban home (one of the Neil House brochure houses) into an inhabitable ‘artwork’.

—The creation of a monument from domesticity).

In between these two architectural approaches is the important arena space for conversation.

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Section of the intersection between the new landscape and the Neil House: the Conversation Room

The design outcome is a response to the need to pause and instigate conversation – and how architecture can support communities to engage in their own surrounding changing suburban patterns.

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The Conversation Room and New Landscape. The landscape forms a foundation for a new row of shops above the old.
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The Neil House has been cut open, flipped and turned inside out. One end has been kept intact to keep some sense of familiarity-the lounge and kitchen space form a balcony to the conversation space below.
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The conundrum of densification