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Dr David Turner

Senior Lecturer
School of Architecture
Location: Building 48, Room 2016


B.Arch (Hons), MA (Urb. Des.)(Manchester), PhD (Auckland)

Professional memberships

NZIA Academic Member
Architects Registration Board (UK) 


David has taught and practised architecture in the UK and New Zealand. Originally from Dunedin, he graduated from Manchester University and taught in the School of Architecture there until moving into practice with the Building Design Partnership for two years. He was accepted onto the post-graduate Urban Design Programme at Manchester in 1976, and completed a thesis on dockland regeneration based on Bristol’s 18thC floating harbour.

With a small team, David won a competition for a town centre redevelopment project in southern England, and set up a practice in the city of Bath. The practice developed a reputation in urban planning and architecture including a second competition-winning project in 1983 for a mixed commercial + ‘hi-tech’ industries business scheme in the regeneration of the London Docklands. Urban workplace architecture became one focus of the practice alongside housing and conservation projects, many of them in historic British cities. The practice, re-named Tektus in 1985 was taken over by one of Britain’s largest consultancies in 2005.

In 1994 David returned to New Zealand to join the staff of the new School of Architecture at Unitec. In the architecture programme he has developed courses for environmentally sustainable construction, an innovative approach to design economics, and has taught urban planning and design in the undergraduate programme. In the postgraduate programme he has supervised over 40 completed final year Research Projects.  David also runs two specialised urban housing design electives, one in the Bachelors Programme, and one in the Masters Programme, that address and critique the intersection of architecture and the socio-economic policies that impact on higher density housing typologies.

His doctoral studies focused on the theory and practice of sustainable urban housing in the context of the social habits and environmental conditions of Auckland, and spanned several disciplinary areas - architecture, economics, planning and philosophy. This research led to Best Practice research and reports on higher density housing design commissioned by Housing New Zealand, and to invitations to advise Auckland Council’s Property company (now Panuku Ltd), on strategies for intensification planning. David’s PhD thesis is available here:  Current research interests are also informed by his work as a member of Auckland Council’s Urban Design Panel since 2012, and focus on the various impacts of increased density resulting from social and city planning policy. From 2007 to 2017 David drew on his experience in professional practice and his research to run annual CPD courses for consultancies in the city.

Graduate supervision of completed theses/dissertations

Masters theses or dissertations

Masters theses or dissertations supervised by David Turner as Principal Supervisor

Koushaal, Joaheer (2021). Architecture sculptured for the betterment of the elderly (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Gopalakrishnan, Dev Einstein Ayyaru (2021). Hope in oncology facility (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Azim, Mohammed Sameer (2019). Next stop, (insert town centre here) (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Almukhtar, Mohammed (2019). Mat-courtyard housing in Auckland : an alternative typology for intensification developments (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Henley-Smith, Sean (2018). Lifting the game (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Atanasov, Ivan (2017). Developing Auckland - via history (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Emhail, Zahra'a Kadham Radhi (2017). Khasab contemporary architecture : exploration of heritage and modernity in the Arabian Gulf context (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Barnett, Callum (2017). Reviving the heart : establishing place & connection through the architectural mechanism and fabric of a transport exchange, using Trivalent Design (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Singh, Tajvir (2017). Regeneration of Papatoetoe (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Moser, Alisha (2017). The 7th Generation: cooperative housing to facilitate domestic support (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Pauling, Craig (2016). Further down the track (Master of Architecture (Professional))
West, Ashley (2016). Filling the blanks : a suburban opportunity for wellbeing (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Young, Harriett (2016). Long live the state house : an investigation into the possibilities of retrofit solutions to existing problems with post-war state houses (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Chan, Rebecca (2016). Intensifying cities : an exploration into methods of transitioning Auckland into higher densities (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Charoenkitkamjorn, Angsarin (2016). Thinking outside the (retail) box (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Paterson, Sam (2016-06-20). Living in the shadow of the most liveable city : an exploration of unliveable sites (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Zhang, Jinghua (2015). High density housing (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Reynolds, Travers John (2015). In a Christchurch frame of mind (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Brokenshire, Mark David (2015). City living : a residential development in central Christchurch (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Jordan, Jonathan (2014). City stitch : a study into how architecture can repair damaged urban fabric to create a vibrant urban environment (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Richardson, Marcus (2014). The St. James : the theatre perfect that always performs in character (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Mann, Marie-Louise (2014). The liveable superblock (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Kully, Megan (2014). Solo in the city : restructuring space, privacy, and autonomy in housing for a contemporary solo demographic (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Suznjevic, Ana (2013). Fantasy and reality : design for dementia (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Shi, Yuan (2013). Architecture as nature (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Locke, Adam (2013). Feed the fish (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Cookson, Gemma (2013). Occupying the edge : Christchurch urban housing (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Nicholls, Naeri Robin (2013). Sustaining Maori culture through the representation of tribal history in architecture : Tirohia - Te Marae Karewa (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Howdle, Natasha (2012). Identity and architecture : the impact of urban intensification (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Heidari, Mahzad Kian (2012). Suburban metamorphosis : an urban intervention into suburban fabric (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Grounds, Meagan. (2012). Variations : flexibility and adaptability in medium density housing (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Badham, Terry Marie Christopher (2011). Papakainga te whau o te matauranga : hei ronaki wa i te ao Maori ki a puawai he oranga hou hei kitenga tangata (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Brennan, Charlotte (2010). Modernism : A contemporary interpretation (Revisiting one of Auckland's Modernist housing developments) (Master of Architecture (Professional))

Masters theses or dissertations supervised by David Turner as Associate Supervisor

Mathew, Abein Prince (2021). Hope for an informal settlement (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Sharma, Deyvik (2020). Westgate Shopping Centre : an opportunity to give an obsolute development a new purpose (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Deverell, Benjamin (2020). Integration (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Edinberry, Zain (2019). Playful pathways : the regeneration of Manurewa Town Centre (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Sahib, Hamas Shahill (2019). The master puppeteer (Master of Architecture (Professional))
McSweeney, George (2018). Redefining the prison : transitioning back to society (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Patel, Reya (2017). Putting people first : an architectural approach to improving quality of life to create a safer community in an Auckland suburb (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Niddrie, Edward (2017). Evolving the Quarter Acre (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Cliffe, Ben (2015). Mature, honest , & clean : design study of industrial sustainability through a New Zealand whisky distillery (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Tyrrell, Nina (2015). Karangahape Road train station : an urban catalyst for revitalisation (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Kostiuk-Warren, J. Max (2015). A home today, designed for tomorrow : a home which can be added onto, subtracted from, and adapted as our lives change over time (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Foote, Scott (2015). Circulation, nature, connection : breaking down institutional barriers to biophilic healing (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Basri, Niniek P. (2015). The North Bali International Airport (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Curtis, Joshua (2014). Coastal callback : an architectural research project exploring the fundamental relationship between New Zealand's built and coastal environments. (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Yelavich, Nicole (2013). Sustainable housing for ordinary households : a design study for Auckland's shortage of affordable housing, Geddes Terrace, Avondale (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Wasek, Rafal (2012-10-29). Through the looking glass : an alternative modern history of Takapuna (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Mahdavi, Hanieh (2010). Fusion of contemporary architecture with historic Persian elements (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Mazey, Jason (2009). The sustainable New Lynn neighbourhood 2020: Balancing environmental efficiency and sufficiency with the quality of social life (Master of Architecture (Professional))


Turner, D. F. (2015). Whole building recycling as a waste reduction practice. In M. Panko and L. Kestle, Building Today - Saving Tomorrow: Construction And Deconstruction Conference.

Turner, D. F. (2014). Contingent interpretations: Unreliable memories in stories of New Zealand architecture. In C. Schnoor, Proceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand: 31, Translation.

Turner, D. F. (2010). Planning for higher density: Habits of privacy in Auckland's culture of housing. Doctor of Philosophy in Planning, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

Turner, D. F. (2010). Compacting Suburbia: a case for moving buildings. Murphy C., Wake S.J.,Turner D., McConchie G., Rhodes D. (Eds). On the edge. Conference Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Architectural Science Association (ANZASCA 2010).

Murphy, C., Wake, S. J., Turner, D., McConchie, G., and Rhodes, D. (2010). On the edge: Cross-disciplinary & intra-disciplinary connections in architectural science. Conference Proceedings (Book/CD-Rom) of the 44th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Architectural Science Association. Departments of Architecture & Landscape Architecture, Unitec: Auckland, New Zealand.

Turner, D. F. (2009). Integrating education and industry: the academic perspective. Re-informing concepts of sustainability in theory & practice of Architecture: a symposium to review current positions, Unitec Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture. 9 October.

Turner, D. (2009). What time is this place? Scala Seminar Series.

Turner, D. F., and Su, B. (2006). Economics and design in medium density housing. Proceedings of ANZAScA 2006 - Challenges for Architectural Science in Changing Climates (40th Annual Conference of the Architectural Science Association ANZAScA), University of Adelaide, Australia.

Turner, D., & Su, B. (2005). A classification methodology for medium density housing based on site layout analysis. In H. Skates, L. Christie, A. Rogerson, A. Melling, & A. Tonks (Eds.), Unofficial proceedings of the 39th Annual Architectural Science Association Conference 'Fabricating sustainability' (CD Rom ed., pp. 13). Wellington: Victoria University. Paper presented at the 39th Annual Conference of the Architectural Science Association 'Fabricating sustainability', 17-19 November, Wellington.

Su, B., Turner, D., Hewitt, J., & Wagner, C. (2005). Case study of medium and high density housing development in Auckland region. In S. Pratt & C. E. Davies (Eds.), The 5th Asia Pacific Conference on Sustainable Energy and Environmental Technologies, proceedings (pp. 74-79). Palmerston North: Massy University. Paper presented at the APCSEET 2005 Conference, 8-11 May, Wellington.

Su, B., Turner, D., Hewitt, J., & Wagner, C. (2005). Study of sustainable medium and high density housing development. In T. Hara (Ed.), 'Collaboration and harmonisation in creative systems', Proceedings of the 3rd International Structural Engineering and Construction conference (Vol. 1, pp. 453-459). London: Taylor & Francis Group. Paper presented at the 3rd International Structural Engineering and Construction Conference (ISEC-03), 20-23 September, Shunan, Japan.

Turner, D., Hewitt, J., Wagner, C., Su, B., & Davies, K. (2004). Best practice in medium density housing design (Report to Housing New Zealand Corporation). Auckland, New Zealand.