Framework for the refurbishment of modernist social housing

  • YEAR
    Pells, Sarah
    Wilhelm, Hans-Christian
    2020 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers
    Design Thinking and Innovation


New Zealand (NZ) has a stock of social housing developments built between 1940-80, requiring substantial refurbishment to meet current thermal comfort requirements. Additionally, these developments often lack social spaces, adequate to changed societal circumstances. Consequently, there is a desire to demolish rather than refurbish. The situation is exacerbated as by 1st July 2023 the new healthy homes standards require social housing providers to ensure dwellings can be heated to a minimum of 18°C indoor temperature. While some exemplar social housing refurbishments have been undertaken in NZ, there is a lack of systematic assessment to inform and increase uptake of refurbishment as a development option. This research develops a systematic framework of assessment for the refurbishment of social housing developments in NZ, whereby enhancement of social spaces and thermal comfort are combined. Based on a literature review, a range of refurbished and non- refurbished social housing developments are analysed and captured in a comparative matrix, ranging from urban and dwelling typology, social spaces, to construction and building envelope details. Subsequently, a design tool informing a range of refurbishment strategies combining social space and thermal comfort is proposed. The research can inform decisions around refurbishing or demolishing existing social housing. Increasing the uptake and quality of refurbishments will contribute to preserving built heritage and reduce resource and energy footprints of housing in NZ.

Keywords: Social housing; thermal comfort.


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