ARCHTECH 709 : Sustainable and Healthy Housing

Creative Arts and Industries

2022 Semester Two (1225) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Examines the current issues of performances and indoor environmental quality in Aotearoa’s housing. Explores strategies, technologies and materials for designing and retrofitting sustainable, resilient and healthy housing.

Course Overview

Available evidence suggests that most new houses in Aotearoa are designed and constructed to a quality that only just complies to meet the minimum requirements of the New Zealand Building Code. These ‘bare minimum houses’ have been described as ‘the poorest-performing homes that can legally be built’ and many of the minimums set in New Zealand are low compared to those in some other developed countries e.g., Australia, Europe, and the UK. Injuries and hospitalisations caused purely by cold, damp, mouldy, or dangerous housing could be costing New Zealand more than $145 million each year in ACC claims and hospitalisation costs. A 2015 estimate of the cost of respiratory disease to NZ was $7 billion (mortality, disability, hospitalisation, prescriptions and doctors' visits) and we have an excess winter mortality of some 1,600 deaths that are linked to poor housing conditions.
At the same time, the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report indicates that if we wish to stabilise global temperatures within a 1.5 ºC change from pre-industrial levels, then incremental transformation toward a more sustainable future is no longer a viable option. The current imperative is to radically transform our built environment, mapping out a path to a more sustainable and resilient ‘post-carbon’ future. Communities will need to provide ‘necessities’ at a local level – clean energy, sustainable water, local food, affordable low-carbon buildings and active transportation. Examining a key city neighbourhood block as an example, this seminar will explore the ‘why’ and ‘how’ to retrofit and transform our existing built form to deliver regenerative low carbon communities consisting of sustainable and healthy housing.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: ARCHTECH 314 and 315

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of the current issues and challenges within New Zealand’s residential sector and how these impact on both health and sustainability outcomes (Capability 1.1, 6.1 and 6.3)
  2. Demonstrate advanced understanding and application of how to integrate sustainability principles into design projects and their impacts upon improving human health using practical and robust approaches that can be applied to specific projects. (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3)
  3. Critically reflect upon the issue of resource intensive architecture and creatively address it through the use of passive design techniques and low carbon design approaches. (Capability 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3)
  4. Demonstrate advanced written, graphic and verbal skills in regards to technically complex topics. (Capability 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.2 and 5.3)
  5. Develop and demonstrate advanced ability to conduct independent research on sustainable, low-carbon and healthy buildings. (Capability 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 and 5.1)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignment 1 (Student Presentations) 30% Individual Coursework
Assignment 2 (Concept Design and Reflective Report) 70% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Assignment 1 (Student Presentations)
Assignment 2 (Concept Design and Reflective Report)
The seminar requires the students to dedicate time for the individual research towards Assignment 1 and 2. It is therefore recommended that students start their research from the early stages of the courses, i.e. during the rst 6 weeks of this course. This will allow students to have higher interaction with the lecturer for a positive exchange of opinions and ideas and to inform properly their research.

Pass requirements
Where a student has been unable to attend to their studies for a period of time in the semester they may apply for an Extension of Time. Late submissions will be considered on medical and special grounds when supported by a health or other professional, and when the application is made according to the procedure below.
Coursework not received by the due date, and for which no extension of time has been approved, will receive zero marks for Assignment 1 and a ‘DNC’ (Did Not Complete) for Assignment 2. Requests for extensions of time must be submitted and approved before the due date unless there are exceptional circumstances. Students applying for an extension of time must obtain an Extension of Time Form for Coursework Submission from the School of Architecture and Planning Oce (6th Floor of the Architecture Building, Building 421, 26 Symonds Street) and complete the required details. Late submission forms must be accompanied with the appropriate sign off by the Course Coordinator and Programme Director.

Teaching & Learning Methods

The written background to the Masters Seminar Series states the following: “Seminars are to provide an environment that encourages speculation, risk taking, experimenting, independent creative thought, and an understanding of the value of research to architecture.”
Furthermore: “Research at this level is not a matter of students merely reporting but rather delving deeply, investigating, posing questions, sifting through material, precedents, facts, data, existing literature, ideologies, ideas and coming up with something new or thoughtful and interesting - both to themselves and to the seminar group.”
With these two statements of intent in mind, the approach to this seminar module will be guided self-learning, peer-discussion and workshop style activity that provides students with a dynamic learning environment that stimulates innovative problem solving and evolves thinking in a time of significant planetary stress.
This course builds on previous studies undertaken at the school of architecture relating to sustainability and key approaches to environmentally sensitive design. The goal is to add a layer of real-world complexity and a sense of urgency in stimulating transformational change required across society, environment, economies, and culture.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 6 hours of lectures, 16 hours of group workshop debates, discussions and presentations where opportunities to learn from peers will take place (team teaching and group learning), 40 hours of preparatory reading and thinking about the content and 88 hours of self-directed work on assignments preparation.

Interdisciplinary teaching & learning, guest lectures and events may also contribute to the modes of delivery of the course.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including Student Presentations to complete the components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings, when and where possible. Other learning activities including seminars and workshops will not be available as recordings.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

This seminar is offered for the first time in 2022 and constructive feedback will be highly regarded for the future development of this course.

Other Information

Attendance in class, as well as engagement with course activities, modules and readings, supports academic success. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that students make every eort to attend class and complete all the necessary in-class and post-class requirements. Please note that participation to classes will be tracked. 
 Guidelines for the preparation of Assignments and related Assessment Criteria will be provided separately.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 27/06/2022 11:43 a.m.