living environments

Thursday - 8th April 2021 6:15pm - 7:00pm NZsT 

Chairperson: Associate Professor Kathy Waghorn, Head of the Dept of Architecture, Huri te Ao (School of Future Environments) AUT.


Rachel Armstrong.

Professor of Experimental Architecture School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape Newcastle University. UK.



“Living” and designing with metabolism.  



If we are to genuinely to design “living” environments, then competent design with metabolism is a precondition, which provides a theory and platform for linking the process of life. Constantly in flow, metabolism is a fabric unlike any other we know: irreducibly complex and distributed in space and time. The Living Architecture project (2016-2019) is a materialised metabolic system, like a weaving machine, that draws together three unique kinds of microbial metabolism as an apparatus for generating metabolic “apps.” I discus how it achieves this, the challenges this poses and the ethical notions that working with such a system invites. 

Amanda Yates.

Associate Professor, School of Future Environments, AUT, NZ.



Mauri ora: Architecture and holistic wellbeing tools for a living planet. 



How can we improve the holistic wellbeing – socio-cultural-ecological – of our cities, neighbourhoods and homes? This is a question with real currency in this time of ecological emergency. Pragmatic transformative ‘solutions’ are required certainly but such instrumental approaches need to be founded, I argue, in a radical repositioning of industrial culture’s thinking of life and life’s wellbeing. The Huritanga (system change) urban wellbeing programme (2020-2024) emphasises a concept of a living planet as a more-than-human assemblage of entities which includes the human. The fundamental gestalt or holism here is that life is as multiplicity, as iterating collective, whose vitality comes through connectivity. This is a circular or helical thinking of life-as-field which emphasises integrated wellbeing. The programme asks whether holistic visualisation tools that situate key indices for ultra-local and global holistic wellbeing might scaffold culture change and transformative action. Holistic wellbeing toolkits are currently being co-created with Iwi, council or communities. I discuss here an architectural version being co-developed with Hoahoanga Huri Te Ao (Architecture and Future Environments colleagues and tauira students) as a holistic visualisation tool to scaffold future-focused, wellbeing-led thinking and transformative action.  

Nimish Biloria.

Associate Professor, Architecture and Urban Environments, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.



Inter-Activating Environments.




Liveable, Just, Democratic, Innovative, Equitable' are all terms which point towards an aspirational future of our Living Environments. The current pandemic has tested our Living Environments' resilience. Experiencing the ensuing aftermath, it would be fair to say that Inventing our futures rather than predicting futures holds the key to making these high-held aspirations a reality. However, I would argue that this act of 'Invention' is now, more than ever, needed at the 'process' front and implies bi-directional real-time exchange of information between People, Economy, Environment, and Technology as equal stakeholders. In other words, 'Inter-Activation' should be at the core of our Living Environments.


7.00 PM – 7.15PM NZST.