The Hero's Journey: Crossing Thresholds
This interior architectural design-led research investigation chronicles a journey from the Canterbury Plains into Canterbury high country. This peregrination sequences eight individual sites along The Main West Coast Road: State Highway 73, and uses the author’s home and batch as bookends. Engaging theorist Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey as a literary provocateur, the interventions are designed for each site according to the eight stages we all must pass through in order to progress to a new level of growth. As an interior architectural design-led research thesis, the interventions assume the mode of ‘furnishing’ the landscape, so as to spatially deconstruct the exterior journey as an interior architectural response to the natural landscape features found within each site. The ‘furnishings’ critically operate as narrative devices that frame the landscape through the construction of the threshold. The thresholds are designed so as to reawaken and witness the heritage stories that reside within each site. And in this way, the eight points of pause in the sequence equate to an expression of ‘home’. This thesis argues that cultural identity arises from personal associations with history and place: relationships in time and space. As such, New Zealand citizens or residents who have lived here for many generations or even just a few years, even if they are not Māori or European, all contribute to our greater understanding of New Zealand’s cultural identity from their own as well as a shared perspective. This designled research investigation asks: How can interior architectural interventions, framed as an allegorical architectural project, help enable shared narratives about local communities and their surrounding contexts to be reawakened and witnessed? This design-led research investigation seeks ways that architectural interventions sited in a rural landscape can contribute to establishing community-based stories of cultural heritage that will also contribute to New Zealand’s national identity as a whole. As an Interior Architecture master’s thesis, this research investigation looks to establish these architectural interventions as ‘furnishings’ strategically sited upon the landscape in ways that critically help to define place identity for rural New Zealanders. This investigation argues that interior architecture is as much about the narrative that ties a space to time and place, as it is about the shape and layout of the space. It is about the whole experience, the ‘identity’ of place. The design-led research investigation explores the interior topology of home by engaging spatial memory, curation, and pentimento as key storytelling devices within the narrative investigation. The investigation engages three primary modes of design to build critical responses to these design drivers: the physical model, the digital mode, and the print.