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Highly Commended – Gerard Finch

Gerard Finch.

Photo by David St George

Gerard Finch, from the Victoria University of Wellington school of Architecture, was highly commended for his project ‘Defab’.

Project description

In response to a statistic that fifty per cent of all New Zealand’s waste generated by the construction sector, Defab seeks to determine the potential capacity of the architect to reduce and eliminate end-of-life building waste. The proposed solution is a highly efficient, expandable and modular structural-plywood system that allows buildings to be deconstructed at end of life and constituent parts re-used. The self-spanning structure allows all components of a building to be mechanically fastened. For further efficiency it is also discontinuous; that is, made up of timber sections of no longer length than 1.2 metres.


This sophisticated study, borne of an impressive amount of research and analysis, is motivated by the need for a solution to a problem of real concern: the reduction of waste in the building industry. Through trial, error and a willingness to experiment, Gerard has extended and built upon an existing body of knowledge and worked through many of the complexities required for a circular construction economy. It is to be hoped that this exhaustive work has a continued life beyond this thesis project.

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