The School of Architecture and Planning is a vibrant centre for advanced multidisciplinary study and research, attracting local and international researchers and high calibre students.

Staff and postgraduate students engage in scholarly debate about architecture, design and planning and, through research, foster new forms of practice and experimentation.

Research within the school covers a diverse range of fields including theoretical, policy, design and practice-based aspects of architecture, urban planning and urban design: history/theory, sustainability, design, digital media, regional and urban policy, urban design and morphology, affordable housing, environmental law and governance. Our research is published in national and international academic journals, books and conference publications, and we also mount exhibitions of our creative work, within and outside New Zealand.


Cover of the centenary publication
  • School of Architecture and Planning Centenary 

In 2017 the School celebrates its centenary. To mark the occasion two major and linked research projects have been undertaken. The first project is the writing of a School history. The research team, led by Head of School Julia Gatley, has drilled deep into the architectural and university archives to uncover and recover material relating to the School’s 100 years of activity. At the same time, interviews of past and present students and staff members have been recorded. The amassed treasure-trove of institutional records, architectural pedagogies, and lively personal recollections have been intertwined to produce The Auckland School: 100 Years of Architecture and Planning. This is the first large scale published history of the country’s oldest School of Architecture and Planning. The Auckland School will be available from September 8.

Alongside and following on from the research for the book, staff and student works from over the years are being gathered towards an exhibition to be held at the Gus Fisher Gallery from September 8 – November 4, 2017. A speculative drawing culture is one of the hallmarks of the Auckland School of Architecture. Sketches, watercolours, maps, paintings as well as the expected orthographic projections, and some models, will explore the sources and the outcomes of teaching, framing the School as the site of research, speculation and radical aesthetics. Ephemera and supporting material will enrich this already major survey.

The centenary book and exhibition work together to celebrate the distinctive and influential schools of thought around architecture, architectural pedagogies, and architectural representation, that form and represent the ‘Auckland School’ over its lifetime.

The centenary research team are:

  • Julia Gatley
  • Elizabeth Aitken Rose
  • Andrew Barrie
  • Bill McKay
  • Michael Milojevic
  • Lucy Treep

For more information on the centenary book and exhibition, as well as other centenary events, please go to the centenary website:


  • Timber Building Studies Group

This group has been formed to contribute to the general discussion about multi-level timber commercial buildings. The group is made up of staff from the School of Architecture and Planning and includes: John Chapman, Senior Lecturer; Dr George Dodd, Head of Acoustic Testing Service; Assoc Prof Uwe Rieger; and Prof Andrew Barrie.
More about the Timber Building Studies Group



Urban planning and design

  • Suburban Futures at the Urban Edge
    Dr Lee Beattie and Prof Errol Haarhoff are currently collaborating with Prof Larry Murphy (Property) on a research project considering the factors which could lead to implementation of more sustainable/resistant peripheral urban forms of development in Auckland, Brisbane and Melbourne.  The project considers issues surrounding the cost of development at the urban edge, the cost of infrastructure provision, transport and connectivity issues, travel demand, employment and housing opportunities and the appropriate forms of urban governance.
  • The History of Urban Design in New Zealand: Prof Errol Haarhoff and Lee Beattie are currently collaborating on a research project investigating and documenting the history of urban design practice in New Zealand. The research project charts the rise of urban design ideas and practice and how these ideas have influenced the practice in New Zealand’s architectural and urban planning professions. This includes how urban design principles and ideas have evolved over time in the New Zealand context, taking on board examples of international best practice, while seeking to create a distinct form of New Zealand urbanism.

  • Urban Growth Management and Urban Design Implementation: Prof Errol Haarhoff and Lee Beattie are currently collaborating on a research project undertaking a critical appraisal of urban growth strategies and their implications for ensuring high quality urban design outcomes within a number of Australasian and North American cities (Vancouver, Portland, Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth). The researchers are interested to learn from the experiences of these cities, and how their policies are leading to anticipated outcomes, including market acceptance and investment in higher density and quality housing typologies and sustainable urban form.

  • What does it take to make an effective urban planner? Employers expect graduates to be able to operate as effective practitioners upon the completion of a professional programme of education. With the increasing demands on early career professionals, a greater understanding of the role professional education and training should play alongside of students’ lives is needed. Professor Dory Reeves is conducting an international  research project that will provide baseline data to identify what makes an early career urban planner effective: and to recognise to what extent programmes of study have been responsible, versus development attributed to other aspects of their lives.
  • From Urban Landscape Units to Morphological Coding: Exploring an Alternative Approach to Zoning in Auckland, New Zealand: Dr Kai Gu's research on geographical urban morphology is pertinent to both describing and prescribing the spatial structure and character of the built environment, but its application in planning and managing the urban landscape has been slow to develop. Based on the relationship between morphological periods and the stratification of urban form, the recognition of urban landscape units is fundamental to the understanding and planning of urban areas. Stimulated by the increasing demand for business and housing, the historical inner suburb of Parnell, Auckland is experiencing great pressure for change. The District Plan which underpins urban landscape development in this suburb on the basis of land-use zones has been of limited effectiveness in guiding change to the historical urban environment. In seeking more integrated development control, a morphological coding alternative is suggested which is derived from spatial analysis of the composite structure of urban landscape units.

  • Travel behaviour of students of the University of Auckland: Via questionnaires and interviews Dr Asif Khan hopes to gain an understanding of the travel behaviour of students commuting to the University in the mornings. While investigations have been carried out into journeys to work, students’ travel patterns have not been thoroughly examined. The findings of this research will be useful for the University of Auckland Travel Plan, and for potential changes to existing transportation policies for Auckland.