Architecture and Planning

Complexity and collapse in urbanism and architecture

Supervisor

Dr Emilio Garcia

Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries

Project code: CAI002

The purpose of this project is to research for case studies where an increase in urban and architectural complexity has led to the collapse of neighbourhoods, towns, cities or regions. The research uses Tainter’s (1988) theoretical framework of collapse, where increments in the complexity of systems produce marginal returns that are unsustainable in long terms. The main objective of the research is to develop an alternative way of approaching the sustainability and resilience of contemporary cities.

Robots in the House! Understanding where robotic assistance has a place in the home

Supervisor

Dr Dermott McMeel

Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries

Project code: CAI004

This research investigates the problems associated with the increased vulnerability that comes from aging within a home environment. Research shows homes become unsuitable for living due to the life changes associated with aging. They are retrofitted to better suit needs, then, eventually occupants have no choice but to move into residential and care facilities, severing social, geographical and cultural links with their home and neighbourhood. This dislocation in many cases causes rupture and decline to all of the three key pillars of quality of life (1) mental health (2) physical health (3) social well-being. A national and global increase in the aged population suggest new approaches to examine and support these changes are needed. Existing data needs to be re-examined through the lens of current domestic technologies such as robotic and digital assistants; as current advancements mean we are now interacting verbally with our home and devices, they use artificial intelligence to understand our habits and routines, and are unobtrusive and affordable.

Our hypothesis is that the central problems within aging i.e. the inability of the home (as physical, social and health infrastructure) to accommodate life change can be eliminated or reduced significantly through the targeted application of these technologies. This project will (1) review existing research from the health and social sciences to identify the range of issues already identified as well as mine new data being made available (2) generate a taxonomy defining how these issues relate to the home and community environment (3) Delineate these findings with developments in robotics and digital technology, such as home assistants. This research focuses on the causes of decline in quality-of-life as we age - the homes inability to support life-changes. Focusing on solutions within the home presents a counter to current practises, which focus on the later aspects of aging care where relocation and dislocation has already occurred, such as existing work on care home automation research. It involves social scientist, designers and geographers. The aim of this research is to identify specific areas of physical, mental and social risk that can be eliminated or reduced with support or augmentation by a robotic or digital assistant.

CCCP: Customizable Composite Computing Parametric Pipelines

Supervisor

Dr Dermott McMeel

Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries

Project code: CAI005

New Zealand is a world leader in composite and carbon fibre manufacturing, particularly in the marine sector with significant parts of both the America’s Cup finalist 2013 and 2017 yachts manufactured here. While the marine market is high-profile and has led to exciting technological developments for both composites design and manufacturing, there are exciting growth opportunities for composites in other sectors including the building and design industries. However, manufacturing composite materials into complex shapes traditionally requires significant and expensive tooling such as formwork. It is also something of an ‘artisanal’ skill, traditionally relying heavily on tacit knowledge and significant craftsmanship. Growing and expanding this market will require developing selective automation of specific processes. While many of the components manufactured are unique they are based on similar templates but are customizable within specific limits and parameters. Thus, the aim of this project is to investigate the development of customizable computing pipelines using Grasshopper or Dynamo software and how they can be interfaced to work with existing manufacturing hardware and processes.

In this project you will be working with New Zealand MaD (Manufacturing and Design) Network of researchers as well as world leaders in composite and carbon-fibre manufacturing. The aim of this project is to create a Technology Demonstrator of a 'CCCP' - a customizable composite computing parametric pipeline. Using software such as Dynamo or Grasshopper interface with existing manufacturing hardware. Composite manufacture is an 'artisanal' industry relying on tacit knowledge and craftsmanship. This research (1) deepens our understanding of the industry and how and where that knowledge, craftsmanship and creative capital can be used (2) explores where automation can be used to alleviate the burden of repetitive or dangerous tasks (3) document how this change affects the social, cultural and organizational practices of the industry.