Design Studio IIIA – Whitiwhiti Kōrero

Whitiwhiti kōrero
Seeing otherwise: conversations with site

“Together, we became investigators of the ordinary, considering the block — the street and everything on it—as a living being that could be observed. […] In this way, the familiar becomes unfamiliar, and the old the new.”

Alexandra Horowitz, 2013, On Looking: About Everything There is to See


Whitiwhiti kōrero is the process of developing discourse through the verbal exchange of ideas; it suggests the sparking or generation of discussion. This includes the establishment and negotiation of positions and discourses to establish a kaupapa (platform/agenda) and work towards an outcome.

“[We want] to ignite a blaze of discussion and initiative about environment as an essential element of learning.”


This project will explore the potential of spatial design to transform the way we experience the world around us. In particular, we will seek to discover and reveal that which might otherwise go unnoticed. Using tools of site analysis and small scale spatial interventions, you will develop a body of experimental work that starts to shape an understanding of how design can mediate between body and environment. This will inform the second project: to design a space for transformational learning that might inform how we care for ecologies and enhance the wellbeing of people and places.


Undertake a process of embodied spatial design research to develop a small-scale site-specific spatial intervention that mediates between body and site. Immerse yourself as a learner/researcher/detective/performer to develop an instrument of transformational learning that may be experienced by others as a performative encounter in public space.


Wellington Waterfront, along the ‘pink line’ of The Performance Arcade 2019.


Brief 2019

Schedule 2019


Week 1
Session 1.1
  • Mihi
  • Intro to course and project
  • Workshop – site ‘measure’ tools and methods



  • Prepare for site visit
    • Plan methods and tools for site ‘measure’
  • Readings
    • see readings folder link on Stream
  • Set up a blog and fill out the blog address form below

Link to blog address form 2019

Session 1.2
  • Meet on site (location to be advised) at 9am
  • We will be outside all morning and doing a bit of walking so dress appropriately and bring refreshments, sunscreen etc.
  • Bring tools/equipment for measuring, mapping and documenting.


  • Select your site (a section line perpendicular to the Performance Arcade ‘pink line’)
  • Document, map, measure using various tools and media
  • Collate/curate the material/information you gather into a visual/material/spatial site analysis that reveals layers of information about your site. You will share this in studio on Tuesday. The format is up to you – it may be:
    • A 2D visual – collaged, photoshopped, etc – probably at least A3 but as big as you need
    • A 2D/3D visual/model (we sometimes call this a ‘drodel’ – drawing-model) – as above but with 3D material included
    • A timebased, moving image or multimedia visual – could be a drawing with moving/animated elements, a short video, and/or may incorporate audio
    • A spatial installation in the studio including any of the above elements
  • You may present on walls, boards, table surfaces, floor, screen – wherever suits.

Examples of site analyses (224.351 student work 2012):

Example of time-based images (digital collage) revealing layers of information about site – Xavier Ellah, 224.453 R&D project ‘On Errant Ground’, 2016:

See also Week 1 intro slideshow for further examples of site/situation documentation – e.g. James Corner’s ‘Taking Measures Across the American Landscape’ and Jen’s ‘taking note(s)’ project.

Week 2
Session 2.1
  • Have site analysis set up and ready to present/share by 9am – use any space/surface in the studio and gallery/corridor that you need, including computers and tv screen for digital media.
  • Share and discuss site analyses
  • Workshop – site responses (concepts, methods)


Session 2.2

  • Open studio session
Week 3

Session 3.1

  • Open studio and workshopping session – body, materials, construction


  • Develop your three design concepts (site-specific spatial interventions) for presentation on Friday


  • present three design concepts
  • workshop with group and select one concept for development
Week 4

Session 4.1

  • Open studio – develop selected concept
    • sketch plan, section, elevation for further development this week
    • sketch of prototyping/modelmaking for this week
    • timeline / storyboard – think about how your spatial intervention unfolds over time and what the duration of this is:
      • what aspects are constructed off site?
      • how is it installed in the site?
      • how is it encountered/experienced/performed?
      • how is it dismantled / packed out?
      • what happens to it and the site afterward?


  • Continue to develop concepts through drawings, prototypes, models and storyboards as described above.
  • By Friday you should have a clearly visualised and prototyped/modelled/tested developed design concept.

Session 4.1

  • Drawing session
    • Warm up: drawing the seated/drawing body in section; drawing the moving body in plan/section/elevation
    • Draw your proposed spatial intervention in plan, elevation, section, detail
      • Consider which elevation(s) are most important – what do they reveal/conceal about how people approach and encounter the intervention?
      • Consider which section(s) are most important – what do they reveal about the intervention in the site – how it is constructed and experienced, points of contact/intersection
      • Consider which detail(s) are most important – in particular these should show how two or more materials meet and the nature of that meeting (fixings etc) – you may want to focus on how the intervention is installed in the site, and/or a key detail that articulates a moment of transformation in the intervention (e.g. a moving part or an interactive element)
      • Include section and elevation markers in your plan drawing, and detail markers in your plan or section (depending on if it is a plan or section detail)


  • Continue to work on your technical drawings – to scale
  • Focus on your section and detail
  • Have a go at drawing up your section and/or detail in Vectorworks
    • Vectorworks refresher clinic Monday 1pm 10C13 with Oli – bring a hand-drawn technical drawing that you would like to draw up in Vectorworks
  • Print and bring your drawings to studio on Tuesday,

Session 4.2

  • Pin-up feedback sessions in presentation groups. Mapping out deliverables for final crit next Tuesday:
    • Context: how do people orientate themselves and ‘step in’ to your proposal?
      • Site/location plan
      • Title, concept statement
      • Any other important information for people to understand/experience your proposal (may include stuff from site analysis – carefully curated)
    • Hero image: visual representation of embodied experience of your spatial intervention. How can you most effectively communicate the intervention and experience? Consider materiality, atmosphere, interaction, how it unfolds over time. You may want to create an ‘animated section’ using time-based representation techniques you explored in the site analysis stage.
    • Prototype/model: proof of concept; something that helps us to better understand the physical manifestation of your design proposal
    • Technical drawings: plan, elevation, section, detail


  • continue to develop/prepare final presentation elements as above
  • have all work-in-progress ready to pin up for feedback in studio on Friday (same format as last session)
  • have placeholders/mockups for anything yet to be completed


Week 5

Working studio sessions



Week 6

Presentation / feedback sessions

Format: Pin-up presentation and ‘blind critique’ – you will get feedback from Ana, Jen and your peers on what your work is communicating, without presenting or explaining it first.

Post-critique exhibition of work and reflection session (including ‘experience stories’ exercise).


Link to reflection form.
Deadline extended on this and the Ass.1 blogs to Monday 15 April 5pm.

Last modified: April 10, 2019