Performance Space // Apia, Samoa
So'o le fau I le fau is a Samoan proverb meaning in unity there is strength. The unity between the man and the women, the Pacific and the rest of the world and the between the land and the building.
An exploration on the differences between the male and the female in traditional Samoan dance movements, body shapes and roles in society has become a platform for the design and the structure located on Elaale Fou in Apia. The female based forms developed into soft cantilever shells whilst the male forms developed into rectilinear triangular geometry. These two forms merging together to create a structure used for performance spaces, practice spaces, food distribution, and admin. The triangular poles represent male energy that pierces the feminine fluid building forms. The poles provide the structure against the gravitational vertical forces along with wind and hurricane forces hitting the coastal site.
The contours of the land at Samoa's eastern island of Upalu were used and the linework further influenced the built forms in Apia. The contours have been interpreted as dancing and ribbon-like form that curvature and fluidity twist around into clamshell structures, that provide regions where specific programs take place. These uplifting structures act as bridges over the water that has been incorporated into the site and ties separate built forms or programs together. The concept of unifying the land in with the building has influenced the fluid forms that fold under the earth and over it, creating a sinuous shell that provides shelter as roofs, walls and will aid the structural support.
The structural elements work in harmony with the conceptual forms, allowing the cantilevered shells to be engineered and constructed without compromising design.
Urban Clearing pushes the idea of a single room 200 meter squared building to its limits, creating a meditation space for multiple religions within a metropolitan environment. Urban Clearing encompasses many religions of the 21st century, forming a space where they can all come together and dwell in their commonality of spirituality. The purpose of the space is to allow the individual a meditative experience for their own personal God or higher power belief. The natural element of this building derives from Gods architecture or Eden, it incorporates natural timber living trees, grass, dirt ground and natural ventilation and sunlight.
The threshold has been explored extensively throughout the design process and the question arises does an open public space such as a forest have a threshold? The conclusion for this project is that the threshold is not a single opening to the clearing but, many different options/pathways chosen by the individual and thus connecting the meditator to the natural surrounds. A unique city experience is created when interaction with a forest clearing is positioned in the central city. The clearing is located at the centre of the site where sunlight streams through trees and timber to the grass below. The clearing contains corners and more private spaces found behind trees and timber partitions, this allowing people a quiet space to dwell and meditate in. The chairs have also been designed as a very secluded, quiet retreat from the outside world. The Chairs have been designed from the 5 most worldwide religions; Christianity, Islamic, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism, and are suspended by a rope and a pulley system that allows the meditator to occupy the vast vertical space without obstructing sunlight with platforms. A unique exploration of what architecture really is when the typical building is not included yet space is designed and manipulated for the occupation of people with purpose.
In October, on Labour Day Weekend (25th/27th) we (a group of 20 architecture students) will be taking part in the third annual FESTA Transitional Architecture exhibition in Christchurch, called “CITYUPS.”The festival features a number of large architectural installations based on this year’s festival theme of “THE FUTURE IS LIVE.”
Building upon the student installation event LUX City in 2012 which attracted over 20,000 visitors to return to the vacant city centre, the purpose of CITYUPS is to generate an instant realisation of urbanity by rebuilding High Street for one night.
Auckland University, Unitec and Canterbury Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) will all be taking part in this exceptional event. Students are split into small groups of twenty who have to design, build and construct a large-scale installation suitable for an outdoor environment. The transportability, affordability and quick assembly of the installation are essential to its success. Students have to transport all equipment within their own luggage or source the material in Christchurch. Waste and recycling are also taken into consideration, with all materials and construction elements being redistributed.
Our installation is based on the idea of ‘Anti-Gravity;’ creating spaces that defy the parameters of everyday perspective and inverting the normal way people see and experience the world around them. Specifically, we broke down the perception of Christchurch and eventuated with a flower form as a symbolic embodiment of the region known as the ‘Garden City.’ We plan on producing a form representing the regrowth and repopulation of the city, which prior to the event can be fully redistributed for a second purpose. Our prototype proposes the structure be made entirely of road cones, a symbol of Christchurch’s dislocation, an indicator of destruction and now the slow rebuild.
Fluidity is located on the corner of Upper Queen Street and Cross Street and the design along with the program is derived via the concept of movement. Movement is explored from the way people move between spaces and further the privacy or publicity of interconnected spaces. Here spaces are connected through winding platforms, ramps and passages. This movement through areas creates a social environment for the residents or guests to interact, and further reducing social isolation. Fluidity explores public vs private space yet defines no space as solely public or solely private. The diagrams and studies form a spectrum where spaces gradually become more or less public/private.
Fluidity's architecture includes creative built elements such as floating platforms, mezzanines overlapping vertical planes creating vertical socialisation. Furthermore, banisters and some partitions allow both sound and light to pass through, therefore increasing the connectivity with other occupants.
The three groups of people occupy a segment of the building each, whilst public places are positioned throughout all three inviting close interaction and therefore a connection between the three groups. Group one consists of a foster mother and up to ten foster children ranging in ages and interests. Group two contains two grandparents, two parents and three boys who enjoy BMX biking. Group three is a couple with two dogs and own a web design studio run from home, this attracts clients to the building.
On the ground floor is the swimming pool facility’s along with a dance/yoga studio both in which linking back to the idea of movement and fluidity within the body. This creates an income for the family living in block two, whilst providing fitness and wellbeing facilities for the occupants and the wider community.
Fluidity’s concept of transition and progression throughout the building started at initial stages of design though model making, CAD manipulation and manual drawing which continued through to the final proposal. This idea was also explored through analysing the site and discovering that its common use is by vehicles with very few pedestrians passing by. The concept of movement through space will create an environment which draws public attention and becomes the destination for many in the local area.
A series of geometric shapes are placed upon and alongside each other. These shapes house differing programs, the pyramidal shapes enclose commercial programs such as shops. Whilst the cylinder and spherical shapes enclose the living spaces, and the cubes house public space for both residents and city dwellers. The differentiation of programs can be distinguished from the street view and create a visual key for occupants in recognising desired locations. The site links Shortland Street and Fort Street in the CBD of Auckland. The previous program of this site was a thoroughfare connecting these two main streets for pedestrians. This public thoroughfare has been incorporated into Urban Euphoria by designing public space to run over the top of the three buildings and continuing to include the public in the residential and commercial complex.
The geometric shapes are placed together like building blocks in order to formulate a youthful feel to the buildings. The programs also highlight the acknowledgement of the younger generations inclusion in the complex through housing animals, plants and a sweet store. This carries through into the design that is all orientated around the fun and excitement that occurs within a child's mind, turning the mundane car park into a playground, allowing the adults to join children in the excitement juxtaposing the typical approach of children joining adult spaces. A central city is a commonly a place for workers and students during weekdays, shoppers on the weekends, and young adults in the evenings. Most apartments and housing does not accommodate for children. This housing issue is addressed by designing exciting homes for families with kids, challenging the norm on every level. Notably, this is seen in the form where circular living areas are designed as opposed to the classic rectilinear cube formation. Furniture must be created to enhance these curved living spaces, further giving the home a fresh and creative aesthetic.