Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Verboten Island: Contingent Means Toward Indeterminate Architecture

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posted on 2022-07-28, 01:33 authored by O'Connell, Nicholas

This design research project explores the generative possibilities of composite drawing techniques. By engaging with the act of drawing, through interdisciplinary media, creative morphs and shifts are activated that destabilise otherwise known conditions. This work explores the restraints, transformative embodiment and latent opportunities promoted by designing across different media platforms. The intention is to use drawing as a resource of design uncertainty. As a beginning point, the project looks at Nat Chard and Perry Kulper’s design methods as catalogued in Fathoming the Unfathomable (2014). Their analytical techniques are tested through the author’s own speculative drawings, in a series of explorations into key themes and ideas around perception, politics and bicultural division. Through the use of analogue and hybrid digital technologies, these drawings attempt to parallel their work yet deflect it, as a way to speculate, also in parallel, on this emergent and speculative architectural mode of thinking. This research is through three scales of project: a one to one installation, a small house and a network of public retreat lodges. The projects are designed to lead on from one another and to use various shifts in representation, scale and a progressively complex programme, as productive research vehicles. Uncertainties discovered in the installation - through a mix of agency between intra-related techniques - were extended in the following projects, sited on Nga Mokopuna and Matiu/Somes Islands in Wellington harbour, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, New Zealand. The drawing out of intangible characteristics is meshed with the inevitable authorship of the drawer and the feedback of the drawing medium, be it analogue, digital, or robotic. Through an iterative process of making and drawing, in a range of techniques, indeterminate conditions in a fraught subject are extrapolated. This provides a way of understanding such complexities and allowing them to fuse with the act of drawing, resulting in uniquely charged spatial outcomes.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Twose, Simon