A Place in Nowhere: Architectural Placemaking in the Tararua Ranges
The resulting thesis asks, ‘how can architecture curate our experience of site to facilitate placemaking’. It finds that architecture can create distinctive and diverse ‘places’ in large landscapes by enabling new ways for people to engage with the site. These places result in a deeply felt experience and, when positioned in a series, they highlight the significance of the landscape. The thesis examines a significant route within the Tararua Forest Park known as the Southern Crossing. The thesis explores how architecture can curate this experience to better connect us to place. This is facilitated by a series of nine architectural interventions that test and refine methods for situating, orientating, temporalising and contextualising one’s experience of space. Starting with site analysis, the thesis finds that subjectivity can provide deeper insights and more powerful concepts when related to experience. It finds that narrative methodologies enable the study of actuality and this is accompanied with the ability to interpret spatial elements which affect this experience. This is opposed to contemporary approaches which are focused on objectivity and fact. Through evolving narrative techniques, a way for the architecture to curate one’s experience of each site is discovered. The design methodology does away with contemporary abstract views. Instead, the process focuses on understanding how the architectonic elements influence the spatial experience to better connect us to place.