Design Studio IIA – Kaitiakitanga
Taking care: spatial inventions and social infrastructure


Raumlaborberlin Spacebuster –












Develop an understanding of the term kaitiakitanga and how it can become an informing principle for understanding social and cultural sustainability through the design of social infrastructure and tools for care.


This project responds to aspects of kaitiakitanga. It examines guardianship of our environment, including our cultural but also dynamic heritage, as well as our natural resources. It therefore includes broader ideas of ‘sustainability’ and ethical considerations. It encourages you to think about our built heritage, our urban environment, our monuments, objects, and stories that shape our connection to place, and which all support the construction of identity and sense of belonging.  Equally important to a spatial practice is to consider the origins and impact of the materials with which to build space and the project will ask you to research and analyse the choices you make for your design.

Kaitiakitanga begins with a holistic understanding of how the environment and the people within it exist in balance, and a care to maintain that balance. What is your role as a creative practitioner in negotiating that balance? How does your work impact on the environment and on people through its manufacture, or its content, or its use?


Through this project you will explore the concept of social infrastructure and the ways that this creates or contributes to social, cultural and ecological sustainability within communities. The term kaitiakitanga suggests an ecological approach to sustainability, recognising and emphasising the interconnectedness of people, places and things. You will explore strategies for site analysis alongside tools to map and document spaces in order to design a spatial intervention for care.

 This is an individual assignment which will allow you to individual develop a specific set of spatial practice skills. This is to be demonstrated through your deliverables at Week 12 final hand-in.

Week 12


-Continue to work on your projects. Tutorials with Kate and Meg

-Review texts

-General questions, catch ups and feedback as required.

Submission requirements: 

1.Presentation of poster on Thursday 11th June. Record your presentation and upload this to Stream. Presentation 6mins

2.A0 Poster and 30sec-1min video, blog link upload to Stream drop box by 5pm Friday

3. All of research, class exercises, independent study tasks documented/evident transferred from Mural and posted to your blog.

4. Complete the course review form (link on Stream submission page)

Office hours with Meg 12-2pm Tuesday


Thursday, week 12:

Presentations, 2x groups with guests Sven Mehzoud and Julieanna Preston. 

Review submission guidelines, course review form, general questions.


Week 11

Week 11.2 – Thursday

In class task + 1:1s with Kate and Meg

Videos for hand-in: this can be made in any way that you like, using whichever of the techniques we have covered this semester.


Thursday week 12. Present poster via mural, and video. 6min presentations, brief feedback. You’ll be assigned a classmate to give feedback on too! We will have some guests in to share their feedback too. 

Hand in information: Submission of deliverables to Stream by 5pm Friday, 12th June.

In class task + independent study for Monday

1.Mock up your A0 poster physically. Mark out where each of the deliverable drawings will go and roughly draw in what each drawing will be of.  Work with a precedent or collection of precedent posters that you are using to guide your poster design

2.Document this process, post to your mural/blog. Ensure that you have this in a format that you can show your progress to Kate or Meg.

3. Based on this work make a plan of how you’ll work towards Monday. Post this to your blog.

Independent Study:

-Continue to work on your project.

-Have 1:1 with the other half of your pair from class tutorials today. Document the feedback that you get for this and post to your blog.

For Monday: draft version of your poster to get feedback on design and presentation. Draft of video, could be detailed storyboard/initial go.

Things to check in with yourself as you’re working: does your design address your opportunity for care? How does it do this and can we see this communicated through your drawings – do the drawings show us your design? What is it made of, why did you choose this? Too many questions?

Week 10

Week 10.1 –  Monday:

-Interim presentations: 5min presentations and then feedback. Notes down your feedback, post to your blog.

Presentation groups:

Independent Study

  1. Select one of the concepts that you presented at interim presentation. Identify what areas of this concept have potential to be developed further. Consider: programme, site, materials, scale. Note these areas of development as a post post on mural and your blog (whatever works best for your workflow). Begin to action this development through redrawing existing plan/section/elevation/perspective, further precedent and material research.

2. Task to prepare for Wednesday tutorial, 1pm with Amber:

  • Research different modelling techniques and post your finding to your mural eg. parti models, origami/paper based…
  • Create 2-3 physical models of one of the concepts that you presented for interim. These physical models explore, materiality and structure. Examples of models will be posted to Kate and Meg’s mural after class Monday. 

Week 10.2 – Thursday

  • General catch-up: tutorial, Queen’s birthday Monday…independent study, grades
  • Posters: your poster will need to be A0 sized. This does not need to be printed out but as we continue to work through this brief we will be also creating physical drafts to ensure that you understand the size of things when printed. Posters will be presented digitally in week 12.
  • Tutorials in groups

Meg’s office hours available Tuesday 1 June 12-2:

In class and independent study for Thursday week 11:

  1. Working with your design as it is so far, plan out the images that you need to create for the project deliverables. Consider which parts of the design you need to show, are the additional drawing that you would want to create, what elements of your design do you need to develop or address, what would your hero image be?

2. Based on this information create a plan for the next week with the aim of producing a draft #1 of 3 (minimum) of the drawings listed in the project deliverables for Thursday Week 11 eg: 2 of the perspectives and the plan etc.

3. Source 5 precedent images of posters and visual representation techniques. Identify what elements of these you are specifically interested in for example, layout, use of colour etc.

4. Create a draft your 100 word project overview to workshop next week.

For Thursday: ensure you have paper to create a physical mock-up of your A0 poster. This could be made up of smaller pieces of paper taped together.

Links to Amber’s tutorials are on our Stream page:

Week 9

Week 9.1 – Monday:

  • Introduce next stage of the brief.
  • Discussion and workshop, initial responses to the next stage of the brief.
  • Outline of the next few weeks – interim presentation next Monday

Reminder, tutorial with Amber at 1pm Wednesday. It is expected that you attend this session or get notes from a classmate and complete the tutorial tasks.

Interim presentation information:

Week 10, Monday 25th May – interim presentation. This is a formative assessment moment for the course and expected that you present your project.

  • 5min presentation 
  • Present your brief: site, programme and opportunity for care
  • Examples from art and design that address either/all site, programme or ‘opportunity for care’ in a way that resonates with your project
  • 3 initial responses (different to each other) to your brief. 2-3 images for each response.


“The city is like a great house, and the house in its turn a small city.”  Leon Battista Alberti

Phase 2 – applying your site analysis and proposing your own social infrastructure:

Scenario: Your local council has announced contestable funding to provide a piece of social infrastructure.  You will build your own brief and create a proposal for a spatial design intervention.  To do this you select the following:

  1. Select one of the sites you have been working with through the first half of this project. You will use the ‘opportunity for care’ that you have identified and researched for this shape as the starting point for the social infrastructure that you design. 
  2. Identify a site that you will work with. This can be in the area where you are currently living (recommended so that you can visit and document) or in Wellington.  
  3. Responding to your opportunity for care and your site design a spatial intervention or installation that serves as a social infrastructure for a public space.

Some notes:

Consider that your intervention will begin as ‘temporary’. We will discuss this and some examples of different ideas of what temporary interventions are and how this might translate for your design.

You will likely need to translate some of the ‘opportunities for care’ that you have identified in your sites to a wider or new context that is in public space ie. your opportunity for may need to be re-interpreted for a new context of public space. We will work together with you and each other to find what this is.

Project Deliverables (week 12)

Presentation of proposal through an A0 poster format that includes:

  • Proposal title
  • 100 word project explanation
  • site plan
  • plan
  • section (you may need to include more than one of these depending on your design)
  • elevation
  • 3x perspective images
  • 1x hero image
  • 1x video (30secs-1min) (not on poster)
  • In class presentation of key ideas and moments in your design. Specific presentation requirements to come (week 11)

All site analysis, research, in class, tutorial and independent study tasks, design development documented and arranged on your blog.

Independent study for Thursday:

Attend SketchUp tutorial Wednesday 1pm. You will be working with the drawings that you made of your structure last week. Ensure you have these on hand.

Task 1: Continue to develop proposal brief. Select your site, conduct site analysis, select your opportunity for care, find precedent examples. Review the interim presentation requirements (next Monday) and use the information required for this to guide your research and development.

Week 9.2 – Thursday

  • General catch up + studio use/access, assignment 1 grades
  • Small group workshops on proposals – keep working on your project whilst you’re not in tutorial groups. This could include beginning to up in more detail your initial responses, some further research and gathering of data about your site (you may want to spend some time on your local or regional council’s website) or possible social infrastructure, precedent sourcing, catch up with classmates to discuss your ideas.
  • Go over interim presentations

Independent study: continue to develop your design based on the feedback that you received in tutorial sessions today.

Remember to have a look at the mural that Kate and Meg add to if you feel stuck or in need of suggestions!

Wellington City Council SketchUp model:

Week 8

Focus for Week 8:

-Developing and analysing your site and ‘opportunities for care.’

-Analysing your structure, developing potential to perform ‘care.’

Week 8.1: this session 1 will focus on your ‘site.’

  1. General catch up
  2. Class exercise 1
  3. Class exercise 2
  4. Office hours + student reps

In class exercise 1:

Choose your favourite three shapes. Organise your analysis of these ‘sites’ into a presentable format.

Discuss in your groups what types of analysis you conducted in these ‘sites’ (within the shape) and what you discovered. Did you find anything new or surprising? What sorts of records could you create? Which modes of analysis produced the best information or the most beautiful documents?

Together, consider what the wider implications of your choices, the materials and the use. For example, the type of flooring in your site might be specific to a particular era – what does this suggest about the age of the house? Or the changes that have been made to it? Perhaps your site is over-grown or unkempt – what might be the reasons for this? Is it a space that is often used? is it a public space? who owns the site?

Discuss together your ‘opportunities for care.’ What is the nature of this care, is it intimate and between family members, does it relate to plant life, or are they publicly available?

 Task: Develop the ‘opportunities for care’ in your 3 chosen site/shapes and extend these to consider what are the tools and behaviours that allow for this. E.g. an ‘opportunity for care’ might be as a space to host guests. What would enable this to occur? Perhaps seating, but what is the nature of the seating? Perhaps a place to put food? Or a way to provide warmth?

 For each of the types of caring ‘infrastructure’ in your sites/shapes find precedent examples from Art and Design practice. These might engage with similar ideas, methods or concerns about care. For example, the many types of comfortable public seating that have been built along the High Line in New York. Or, if your site was the laundry ‘care’ might be for garments an in this installation ‘The Mending Project’.

Complete this task for Independent Study (1).

In class exercise 2:

‘Pitch your podcast’ – share the podcast that you found with your group and explain what was good about it. Choose at least one new podcast from someone else’s ‘podcast pitch’ to listen to.

Independent Study for Thursday, week 8:

Independent Study (1): Complete ‘in class task 1’

Independent Study (2): listen to the new podcast. Write a short summary with at least 3 takeaway points relevant to your developing studio project.

 Independent Study (3):

Session 2 (Thursday) will focus on your ‘structure.’ You need to produce documentation that will enable us to understand

  •  what your structure is
  • why it is
  • its size, materials and construction
  • how is ‘works’

These documents could be ‘annotated’  photographs pointing out the different techniques that provide structural integrity or support in your structure.

Try to produce scaled plan, section, elevation and detail drawings of your structure. See this article to get you thinking : (except for the section on perspective, we want scaled drawings that include measurements.)

Producing scaled drawings won’t be easy! Don’t panic, just give it a go! We are more concerned with the story your drawing can tell than its accuracy (not that accuracy wouldn’t be great too).

Week 8.2

  • General catch-up, library services, independent study, tutorial Wednesday 1pm
  • Tutorials with Kate and Meg

Tutorial group link:

 Independent study:

Catch – up on the tasks you have not completed so far for this project. Go back through the tasks, listen to the podcasts, re-do your technical drawings of your structure, find precedents and examples of art and design that engage with care…

We will be starting the next stage of the brief on Monday Week 9.

Week 7.1:

  1. Introduce the new brief – presentation, learning outcomes, intro Mural

2. Class exercise – what is social infrastructure, devices for caring in urban, rural and suburban areas

3. Overview of tasks to complete in class and for independent study to work with on Thursday

For Thursday, complete tasks 1+2  – outlined below.

Task 1

Listen to the podcast Palaces for the People from 99% Invisible and answer the following questions:

  1. Based on Eric Klinenberg’s definition – what is social infrastructure?
  2. Make a list of social infrastructure examples other than the library (podcast/your own research)
  3. What are the physical components of one of the examples you have identified?  What does it afford as a social infrastructure? Who is using it and how? What/how does it benefit the community / contribute to social sustainability?

Social and Cultural Sustainability:

Social sustainability captures the human dimension of the sustainability discourse”, and in terms of interior architecture (or generally spatial practice/ spatial design – sm/mr) it is “necessary to think about the terms ‘sustainable development’ and ‘sustainable communities’ as well” Introduction to Social Sustainability and Interior Architecture, 2013). 

  1. Sustainable development is development that ensures “it meets the need of the present without compromising the ability for future generations to meet their own needs” (WCED, 1987). 
  2. Sustainable communities “are characterised by a strong connection to place, building capacity and resilience to external forces”. 

“The former is an eco-centric approach, emphasizing the effective use of resources, and the latter is an anthropocentric approach, focusing on the human relationships, needs and quality of life”.

“While basic human needs of clean water, shelter and sanitation are crucial to existence the world over, people’s lived experiences embrace other aspects of life. Aspects such as community, cultural, social and ritual behaviours are equally important in the minutiae of daily life. The sites of these aspects are both natural and man-made, and encompass work, social interaction, traditional religious or cultural rituals, and domesticity”. (Introduction to Social Sustainability and Interior Architecture, 2013). 

Task 2

Step 1:

Create a circle that with a 2 metre radius. Source a material that you will be able to re-use (eg string/rope/ribbon) to mark/map the circumference (edge) of your circle. This length of material will become a tool for you to make lines and mark out volumes in space.

Step 2:

Document the textures, materials, activities and histories that occur within this circle. Document through photography, video, writing and drawing. Consider what potential exists or might be required here for ‘taking care’ Eg. your circle might be in the garden, with textures including the ground, dirt, concrete paving, sprouting grass. The potential for caring eg. weeding

Step 3:

Using your length of rope/string etc. from Step 1, repeat Step 2, 4 more times in 4 different spaces (outside/inside, domestic/public, private/shared), creating 4 different shapes. Document and upload to your blog.

Step 4:

Select one of your shapes. Using household materials/things you’ve found around your home/sourced easily and cheaply from the supermarket perhaps, create a structure that enables you to draw at a distance. This structure should span your chosen shape, so that you can be on one side of it and able to draw on the other side of it.

Some documentaries about urban spaces and social infrastructure:


The Human Scale:

Citizen Jane:

This is a subscription site to watch documentaries:

You can also access Beama  to watch documentaries and films

Week 7.2:

  1. General check-in and questions for the group
  2. Small group task Palaces for the People + Mural. Update your murals together.
  3. Discussion and feedback to each other on task 2.
  4. Next steps – volumes, shapes and site analysis – mapping examples
  5. Mural and blog workflow and expectations.
  6. Independent study for Monday – complete tasks 1-3
  7. Reminder to create your own individual mural in our open ‘Studio’ room in the 224.257_Kaitiakitanga workspace.

Please complete this form to ensure we have the correct blog link for everyone – thank you!

In class task:

Workshopping structures to draw at distance:

  1. Demonstrate (live or through your documentation) how your structure works.

2. For each person in your group work through:

  • What mechanisms were successful in/with your structure?
  • What improvements could you make to your structure. Consider, structural support/integrity and joins/joining techniques.

3. Source an example from any existing structure eg. a bridge, a bench, a chair that uses a similar strategy to your structure or that you could use to improve your drawing at a distance structure.

Post the documentation of this exercise to your blog.

THE_FLOATING_ISLAND_10 (1)The Floating Island – OBBA

Independent Study to complete for Monday, Week 8:

Task 1:

Adjust/improve your drawing at a distance structure based on the feedback that you received in your group discussion.

Task 2:

  1. Select 2 of your ‘shapes’ (from the previous task) to redo in response to discussion and feedback. This redo could include (and is not limited to) more in depth material studies and documentation, further consideration or elaboration of opportunities for care, development of techniques for capturing and documenting the information with in your ‘shape’.
  2. Do 2 more shapes. These can exist on more than one plane for example, your shape might  be partially on the floor and onto a wall. Document the same information that you did for the original task (as outlined above).

Task 3:

Find an episode of 99% Invisible that addresses social infrastructure in some way, there are many on this site as it is all about the built environment. Listen to the podcast and write a summary that:

  • identifies what the social infrastructure being discussed is
  • what are some specific design choices that have been made to create, alter or improve it
  • what are the evident or potential outcomes of it (this might be discussed in the podcast or you might like to consider examples of this that you know)

Reminder to create your own individual mural in our open ‘Studio’ room. 

Office hours with Meg, Tuesdays 12-2pm. Sign up via this google sheet link. Please sign by 11am Tuesday so that I know who is coming along! You can use this time if you have any questions about tasks, your work, general stuff!


Last modified: June 11, 2020