Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Second-hand poetics: Dynamic shifts from home to monument

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posted on 2021-11-23, 02:27 authored by Williams, Tina

This thesis began with an Antarctic story. There is something sublime about the adventures of Scott and Shackleton; their ability to entertain the emotive sensation of place, despite a physical detachment. Tales of exploration arrest moments of suspense, drama and inspiration and yet they are surrounded by the fact that Antarctica is a barren, isolated expanse. The opportunity of these particular constructs, which operate between intimacy and departure, to serve the creation of a special experience, it exists beyond the replication of these narratives; they might suggest how New Zealand national identity might be framed.  The natural architecture of the frozen continent is grand. Its timelessness rivals the foundations that the rest of the developed world is built on. Yet simultaneously its stories create a rapport which personalises identity and allows memory to be mobilised. New Zealand built history has only recently emerged but representationally the identity of the nation is monumental, especially in relation to Antarctic. This thesis asks how the relationship between NZ and Antarctica might be physically manifested through architecture, in order to deepen the stability of NZ historical identity.  The project is situated on the Lyttelton harbour where New Zealand and Antarctica have historically converged. At this location the vicarious nature of the Antarctic story is exploited so that the sense of place might exist even though, physically and temporally, it is not attached to the Antarctic. This is realised through a set of imagined dwellings on Dampier Bay, which are contained within the definition of ‘Home’.  The programme of this research acts to acknowledge this duality and formalises it as the ‘monument’ and the ‘home’. The primary understanding of programme will however be domestic, as it is the point at which our most intimate memories are created. The realisation of the monument will be introduced through the act of designing itself.  Architecture is used as a tool to negotiate the exchange of personality between the two places and ideas, with the poetics of representation providing a framework for investigation. Because the method is derived from such poetics, my own subjective will is asserted onto these interpretations. The process has therefore become non-quantifiable, it relies instead on a level of intuition.  The Antarctic story resonates with the moments we find identity in, they have the potential to complement New Zealand’s Architectural history where it is wanting of poetic agency.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Master of Architecture (Professional)

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Wood, Peter