Students to explore the housing and human settlement needs of Kiribati residents

July 11 / 64

Students from the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning gained valuable experience in urban design, planning and architecture as part of a unique travelling design studio to the Central Pacific island of Kiribati.

14 Masters students studying architecture, urban planning and building worked with local professionals on a draft structure plan, construction guidelines and model house designs for the South Tarawa area.

The studio was designed to mesh with the Government of Kiribati’s urban renewal initiatives.

Studio leader Associate Professor Colleen Butcher-Gollach said the students played a meaningful role in helping locals improve conditions in existing urban villages.

“Students have looked at the existing quality of housing and came up with simple, low cost construction guidelines for home owners about how they can improve their buildings.

“While a lot of the buildings are quite traditional in material use and style, there are an increasing number of Western style buildings that don’t have much to draw on in terms of inspiration or ideas. Students will look at roofing and guttering, the types of foundations in place and how ventilation can be improved,” Associate Professor Butcher-Gollach said. 

“The students also made suggestions for a draft structure plan for guiding future growth of the South Tarawa area, and helped create ‘model’ housing plans for low or middle income families who will have the opportunity to build on a new green fields subdivision being created by the Government.

“Kiribati is only a small country, one that doesn’t have very many civil servants, but still has a huge number of infrastructure investments it needs to complete. So the students will have a chance to get first-hand experience and exposure to local government practices on projects with real world applications,” she said. 

More information about the studio can be found at


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