Design Studio IIB – Ihi & Wehi
re-readings: adaptive reuse

Tutors: Sven Mehzoud, Stuart Foster
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, its existing architectural, historical, urban and atmospheric conditions are understood as ‘materials’ themselves. These can be manipulated or transformed through conceptual creative approaches as well as practices of adaptive reuse. This project is an introduction to interior architecture  which will allow you to adapt the existing structure for new use, and to introduce new materials, narratives and atmospheres to rewrite and offer new readings or re-readings of buildings, spaces, site. .

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?


Massey University’s Wellington-based School of Design is located at the Wallace Street Campus in the suburb of Mt. Cook, and as such is peripheral to Te Aro’s inner city bustle and culture. Through its location, the School of Design remains disconnected from Wellington’s centre of cultural and creative activity. In order to bring the  learning experience closer to a cultural centre, Universities often locate and build satellite campuses in city centres to provide flexible student facilities that may also include opportunities for design / art residencies, and multi-functional spaces to host a raft of events and activities.

Project brief

 The site for this project is Morrisons’ Building, a modernist heritage building from 1930 and former printers offices, at 15 Garrett Street, opposite Glover Park. It is ideally located near Cuba Street and many shops, bars but also creative practices. It is in the midst of Wellington’s cultural hub. This project asks you to consider how this site and context can be transformed into a satellite campus and utilised to provide design students with a facility to study, and to interact with Te Aro’s communities and city life. 

 The project brief including learning outcomes and assessment criteria can be found on the 224.258 /. 2021 stream site.

Last modified: July 11, 2021