Design Studio IIB – Ihi & Wehi
resonant structures

Tutors: Jen Archer-Martin (wk 1-6), Meg Rollandi (wk 7-12), Kate Linzey (whole semester)
Contact email:,,




The aim of this project is to explore the capacity of spatial design to create, facilitate, or amplify the emotional resonance of a space and the creative or performative activities that occur within it. Site, including both its spatial and historical conditions, is considered as a major driver of resonant spatial experience. Beginning with a close reading of site, the existing architectural, narrative and atmospheric conditions of a site are understood as materials themselves. These can be manipulated or transformed through practices of adaptive reuse, which may also introduce new materials, narratives and atmospheres to rewrite and offer new readings.

Ihi & wehi

This project also examines the themes of ihi and wehi associated with the creative process and as a driver to address the intangible resonance within creative practices. It presents an acknowledgement that design is so much more than the sum of its component physical parts.

Ihi and wehi are complementary terms associated with emotional and psychological behaviour. Ihi can be described as an individual’s essential force, charisma, power or charm – which emanates throughout the creative process. Wehi, on the other hand, highlights the internalised feelings that occur in response to ihi.  Sometimes the terms dread or awe are commonly used to describe wehi. In this context, wehi is taken to mean the emotional response on the part of the observer.

How does your work make you feel? How does the work of others make you feel?  What effects, intentional or unintentional, does it provoke or generate? What energy or resonance does your work have for others?


The Great Hall of the Dominion Museum will soon be returned to Massey to be used as a multifunctional gathering/event space and gateway to the Pukeahu campus – a heart for Massey’s creative arts community and a place to interface with the public. This is an opportunity to reimagine the way that the space is used.

Project brief

We will be using the original Great Hall of the Old Dominion Museum (Block 10)  – historically used as the Māori Hall – as our site. The brief is to propose an adaptive reuse of the Hall, developing a new spatial fit-out or system that offers a flexible multi-use space for Massey’s Creative Arts community. You will work in groups and also be expected to produce deliverables for individual assessment.


A full version of the project brief including learning outcomes and assessment criteria can be found here – 224.258_Ass1 2019_brief – and also on Stream.

Please refer to Stream for project resources and for digital submission of deliverables.

Weekly updates and deliverables will be posted on the blog below.


Adaptive Reuse Scenario
This is an adaptive reuse project and therefore deals with an existing building that is considered to be reused for a different purpose than its original design was intended for. Block 10, aka The Old Museum Building, was originally the location of Te Papa Tongarewa (the National Museum of New Zealand and formerly the Dominion Museum) and was redesigned and refurbished from 1997-2000 to house the College of Creative Arts. In 2014, parts of the building was given over to house the WW1 Exhibition which is due to be closed at the end of 2018. The college is now reconsidering how Block 10 – the Old Museum Building can be better and more effectively used once it takes possession of its entirety again from 2019 onwards. This project looks specifically at how a spatial intervention into the Great Hall (the large space in the centre of the building) can effectively become the ‘Heart’ of the student and staff community of Block 10 and 11, and further function as  a ‘front’ (public face and entrance) for Wellington City. You will also need to consider how the intervention can cater for a range of uses, including large gatherings, performances, a café, and teaching space.

So you will design an intervention into the ‘Great Hall’ while also considering how this relates to the other parts of the building.

Monday Wk1
Get into groups (as prepared) and begin research and analysis of site. Allocate tasks within your group which involves 1) a site documentation including  the making of a physical and a digital modeL, and 2) a presentation of the site analysis. The presentation needs to include:

  •  Historical research: images, short text/description of the building’s intent, cultural significance, built form and use, and transformation into a Massey Wellington Campus building (150w). What is the historical style of the building and its interior? What materials are used and how are they used (are they structural, decorative etc.)?
  •  Site plan: simple and scale as appropriate, locating the building within the city and in relationship to the campus
  •  Diagrams of the building’s layout: the planning of the spaces in relationship to each other, use, circulation/access. Represent in particular the current space use  and circulation, including corridors, access to building and staircases/lifts. The diagrams should clarify and explain what the current problems for use and flow are, and what opportunities exist once the spaces have been returned to the College of Creative Arts. You are a user of this space already therefore will know first hand what works and what doesn’t. Print out the provided plans (see Stream resources folder) and do a walk through the spaces to identify how they are used. Try to sketch diagrams showing all three floors – research how you can represent the three floors and the analysis through a concise diagram – research examples (see Stream resources folder) and choose one or two to base your diagram on.
  •  Models: The site documentation needs to include a sketchup model of the Great Hall from provided dwg drawings (see Stream resources folder) as well as a physical model using the laser cutter and other tools from the 3D workshop (you will continue to refine these after Thursday).

Digital modelling of site from dwg plans & sections


Independent study:

  • Continue digital modelling of site; prepare files for laser cutter for physical modelling
  • Research existing site context, history, materials
  • Prepare site plan & planning diagrams
  • Reading: Re-readings (see Stream readings folder)
  • Find some precedent images:
    • each group to find at least one of each of
      • an example of adaptive reuse (intervention/insertion/installation)
      • an example of an emotionally resonant space
      • a temporary or flexible structure/spatial system
    • name the image file: title/name_author/designer/artist_date_location_source.jpg
    • upload to the Week 1 image dropbox
  • Add stuff from site measure to the shared folder (images/measurements/sketches/notes)
  • Set up blog and fill out blog address form


Wednesday Wk1
Preparing files for laser cutting

The 3D Workshop runs laser cutter induction sessions each week at 3:30PM – make sure to have at least one student from each group sign up into this induction session – you need this expertise in your group in order to do the physical model which is due Monday Week 2. Attempt to have at least two students able to use the laser cutter so that you can help each other.


Thursday Wk1
Presentation of group work, followed by development of your group models – by now you should be working on the files to get your walls, trusses and other model making components laser cut.

Independent study:

  • Continue the model making processes
  • Watch the following video from Toronto based design practice UUfie. Look in particular at their Printemps project and how they developed the forms and material effects of the inserted skin. This is important for your individual material and design explorations for your intervention development and workshop on the Monday morning with the 3D Workshop staff!
  • In response to the Re-readings text, find an example of an intervention, insertion or installation and analyse for materials/form/structure and relationship to the existing building



  • existing site model (digital and physical laser cut)
  • existing site drawings (site plan and planning diagrams)
  • existing site research
  • adaptive reuse precedent research
  • reading: Re-readings



Monday Wk2

Meet in the Tea Gardens. Session breaks in two to discuss wood & metal in studio, plastics/textiles & casting in workshop.

Workshop demos / material discussions:

  • Plastics: including perspex, sheet like polypropelene, latex, and ‘product’  ( consider manipulations through vacuum forming, Sheet bender, Band saw) Textiles: may also include plastics where applicable and introduces (consider manipulations such as sewing machine, cutting, ultrasonic welding  – think of pneumatic/inflatable structures, etc)
  • Casting: plaster/concrete/resin/wax – generating form and textures with moulds, and other ways of casting  – various materials
  • Metal: easily manipulable, such as ‘light’ gauge sheeting, various metals, sheets, rods, wire ( consider manipulations such as spot welding; bender, soldering, guillotine, hand tools like tin snips)
  • Timber: incl reconstituted boards, plywood, veneer, etc – (maybe introduced Band saw / table saw, Sanders) consider use of veneers & manipulating form by steam bending and laminating.

Studio discussions:

  • Discussion of design concepts continuing terms Intervention, Insertion, Installation.
  • Consider: what is the existing (materials, forms, usage) what might be added by design?
  • How can we model will materials (conceptually or abstractly) to make ideas ‘real’ that is, have material properties that resist our thoughts & visions.


Continue digital modelling of site from dwg plans & sections; intro to Vectorworks


Independent study:

  • Develop materials exploration models to consider:
    • form
    • textures
    • lighting opportunities
    • haptic and other sensory responses
    • structural opportunities
    • joints and connections
    • expressing existing & new
  • Start collecting precedents for materials and techniques
  • For Thursday bring your initial explorations of your material and research into a precedents to class

Thursday Week 2

Bring initial material trials to class for one on one / group tutorials. Present precedents and identify how and what may inform your further material explorations.

In class working on group models. 1:1 input from tutors.

Workshop demos (part 2 – Timber and Metal) to happen throughout session – please bring workshop safety gear

Independent study:

  • For Monday, finalise the three material exploration models and bring  to class for discussion. One of these (the last one of the three iterations) should fit the 1:100 model space.
  • Research: space planning (what needs to be in the space, how much space does it need etc, how does it need to be arranged etc – look at precedents and create initial sketch plans / diagrams)
  • Research: precedents (temporary structures & connections)
  • Generate initial design concept sketches in response to the model/material explorations and research


  • existing site model (digital & physical) and drawings (plan and sections)
  • material explorations / concept models (at least one 1:100 inserted into existing model)
  • materials precedent research
  • structures & connections precedent research
  • initial concept generation (sketches etc) & space planning research



This week we are focusing on two aspects: a ‘return brief’ with space planning research, and initial concept generation

Monday Wk3

  • 3D workshop demos: metal
  • working studio & 1:1s: working fluidly across scales / elastic thinking
    • space planning: diagram your proposed use/planning of the space
    • embodied experience: 1-point perspective drawings getting inside the space
    • construction/material details: temporary connections

2D detail drawing with Vectorworks


Independent study:
For Thursday, complete the following and be pinned up for a work-in-progress presentation by 9am:

  • RETURN BRIEF:develop a ‘return brief’ that outlines the refined design problem/intention and requirements for the project. The ‘return brief’ should build on the existing project aims outlined in the original assignment brief (step one is to revisit this). It should present your interpretation of these ideas as a more focused design brief that suggests a more specific programme (spaces and activities) for the Great Hall in order to make it a hub for the creative community of CoCA/Massey/Wellington.
    • Your ‘return brief’ should consider:
      • overall vision/ethos/aim – this is focused on what you want the design to achieve (what should it offer/afford, what impact should it have) rather than what it might be or look like
      • programme – the types of spaces and the activities that should occur in them (considering also any ‘left over’ or negative spaces, circulation spaces, etc)
      • parameters – the specific requirements of each space, e.g. size (square metres), capacity (number of people), what specific uses they need to support (who/when/how), services required (lighting & electrical, plumbing, HVAC/mechanical, data/communications, specialist equipment, waste etc), accessibility/access/circulation/egress, storage needs, energy/sustainability considerations, etc…
    • In order to define some of the above parameters, you will need to do some research around space planning requirements for different types of spaces. Post this on your blog and create a dossier of the most relevant information to include with your return brief.
  • INITIAL CONCEPT GENERATION: continue with the following:
    • planning diagram
    • models (digital & physical), starting to incorporate sketch modelling of your ideas
    • perspective drawings exploring your ideas from the perspective of a user/inhabitant
    • construction detail sketches exploring temporary connections between materials in relation to your ideas

Thursday Wk3

  • Pin up of return brief, research & initial concept generation (as above) by 9am
  • 3D workshop demos: temporary connections (please bring workshop safety gear)
  • peer-peer discussion, critique and workshopping of return briefs and initial concepts

Independent study:
Prepare for interim critique on Monday – pin-up presentation of colour A3s and model(s). See Week 4 for specific presentation deliverables.


  • return brief
  • space planning research dossier
  • initial design concept: design intent statement, 1:100 concept model, planning diagram, concept drawings/sketches, temporary structure/connection detail concept sketches/models
  • design precedent research (more focused in response to your return brief and initial concepts)




Pin up for 9am:

  • programme proposition & design intent statement: overview/summary of return brief and rationale for initial design response
  • 1:100 concept design model, along with curated material & connection detail explorations
  • 1:100 plan and section drawings
  • sketch perspective(s): hand sketches with optimal digital augmentation (e.g. photoshop)
  • key research & precedent analysis images/material 

2D/3D drawings – sectional perspectives combining 2D technical section with interior atmosphere/materiality


Independent study:

  • Section, to include:
    • 2D technical section of existing – line drawing done in Vectorworks, with attention to what is cut through, line weights etc
    • interior – in section, elevation or perspective (sectional perspective), exploring materiality & atmosphere – this bit can be more sketchy/experimental at this point

Thursday Wk4

1:1 tutorials, working session

Independent study:

  • Continue concept development, refining programme and how the space/structure adapts to different ‘event scenarios’ over time
  • Produce refined technical drawings of the existing building (plan and section, 2D Vectorworks line drawings)
    • See handout on drawing conventions in Stream resources folder for more on lineweights etc


  • all material from interim presentation
  • design concept development with refined programme
  • section as outlined above
  • technical drawings (plan and section) of existing



Monday Wk5

  • Diagrammatic storyboards – use technical drawings of the existing (plan/section) to create a series of storyboard ‘frames’ that diagram the use and layout of the space for different programmes (‘event scenarios’)

troubleshooting – Vectorworks plans & sections, sectional perspectives


Independent study:

  • Prepare for review on Friday of final presentation mockup. Use work-in-progress and/or placeholders for content that is not yet complete. For Friday, print and pin-up 4 x A2s (tiled A3s okay) for review:
    1.  Title, hero image (1:100 sectional perspective), concept statement
    2.  Diagrammatic storyboards (1:200) & annotations describing programme
    3.  Plan (1:100) with annotations describing design
    4.  Detail, materials etc
  • Note that final presentation will also include model, material explorations and booklets for research, space planning & technical drawings. Continue your space planning research, including required dimensions for any of the following (and anything else) relevant to your proposal:
    • seating, table layouts, tiered rostra for auditorium-style seating, workspace furniture, etc
    • vertical access (stairs, ramps, lifts)
    • handrails and balustrades
    • service area layouts (kitchen/cafe/coffee cart etc)
  • For the space planning research, refer to the following resources as well as what you source yourselves:
    • New Zealand Building Code, particularly clause D1 Access Routes and F4 Safety from Falling
    • BRANZ Guide to Universal Design for Houses (in Stream resources folder) which has useful information and diagrams about designing for accessibility (some of these will be relevant to your projects even though you are not designing housing)

Thursday Wk5

Review of work-in-progress presentation material as above

Independent study:

  • Continue to develop presentation material as above.
  • On Monday we would like to see, in particular:
    • Draft of booklet/dossier including relevant/curated research and technical drawings of the existing space. There should be one technical drawing from each group member. These should be Vectorworks 2D line drawings (plan or section) and should have a title block that includes drawing title, scale, who it was drawn by and the date.
    • Presentation aspects that focus on materials and detail(s). Each project should include a detail drawing of a material/construction/connection detail that demonstrates how you have considered the design of your structure (insertion/intervention/installation) to detail. Ideally this detail should focus on an aspect of flexibility e.g. temporary connections as explored earlier in the project.


Last modified: August 15, 2019