Rowan McCormick

PhD Student in Cultural Anthropology

Supervisors: Dr Eli Elinoff and Associate Professor Jeff Sissons

Owner-builders of Unconventional Housing in Aotearoa

I have spent much of my working life building and renovating fairly conventional houses in New Zealand and London. In recent years I have enjoyed working with people on their own homes, building with recycled materials, earth, straw, trash, greenwood, split and pit-sawn logs, and other good stuff not stocked on merchants’ racks. I’m struck by the contrast between conventional building materials and processes, and the rhythms and practices of folk who choose to build and live in home-made dwellings.

My present building/research project explores the experience of autonomous builders in Aotearoa who are taking personal responsibility for their own housing needs, and providing hospitality to fellows without. Working alongside people as they build, I want to understand the intricate ways in which their processes, practices, methods, materials and stories offer both critique of, and potential solutions to issues around housing and environmental crises in Aotearoa.