Socio spatial agency – honours exegesis

Working model Dominion Road Flyover - AUT Spatial Design Honours 2013

Working model Dominion Road Flyover – AUT Spatial Design Honours 2013

Click here for a pdf of my Honours exegesis (I obtained a first class pass!)

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Socio Spatial Agency – Spatial Design 2013

Interchange used as public space and live-work infrastucture

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All images and text copyright of Heather Crawcour.

“The right to the city is not merely a right of access to what already exists, but a right to change it…” (Harvey, 2003, p. 939)

During 1963-64 the Dominion Road interchange was constructed in anticipation of the 1960’s Auckland motorway plan that was abandoned in the 1970’s. The resulting monolithic concrete mass demolished homes and community connections and created a car-centric zone. This project proposes re-appropriation of infrastructure for an arts community

  1. Reconfigure New North Road to meet Dominion Road thus creating a traditional four-way intersection for cars
  2. The now redundant interchange elements – the flyovers, underpasses and arcs, become the infrastructure for an arts community
  3. This comprises social structures (live-work-exhibition spaces), gallery spaces, gathering spaces, and access points that combine public space and private dwelling

The project provides social structures for an arts community, a place for artists (and their families) to live and work. Initial social structures are mapped from the houses demolished when the interchange was constructed. These have no traditional foundations at ground level, but rely on the interchange elements for support. It is anticipated that over time, the community will grow more dense with exploratory spaces of mixed use.

This project proposes a more fluid, public way of living in Auckland. This design proposes social exchange frameworks which promote individual and collective agency, where everyday life can be experienced, performed and shared.

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Concrete Idea – Spatial Design 2013

Exhibited in the Auckland Art Gallery in July 2013 as part of the 5th Auckland Triennial

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All images and text copyright of Heather Crawcour.

If we speak of a ‘concrete idea’ or to make something more concrete, we are looking for definition, solidity or opaqueness. Concrete’s etymology stems from com = together and crescere = to grow. So we can think of ‘making something concrete’ as growing something together. The project ‘concrete idea’ explores concrete as a  paradox of modern life, “Like modernity, it brings people together but cuts them off from one another; it overcomes the forces of nature but obliterates nature; it emancipates us but ends up destroying old ways of life and old craft skills. And, like modernity, it is irreversible – there is no turning back.” (Forty, 2006, p. 38)

The project investigates the dualities of concrete which highlights the incongruous nature of community making. The project questions of the potentiality of concrete as a political material to create or destroy communities.

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Kids’ Base – Spatial Design 2012

Pedestrian Bridge and Kids’ Base in Otahuhu

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All images and text copyright of Heather Crawcour.

Otahuhu was and is a site of traversal. Transport and infrastructure systems dominate space arrangement and usage. In this intervention a pedestrian bridge re-links community connections that were severed by State Highway 1. The design does not seek to avoid complicated existing infrastructure, but to incorporate this as part of the experience. A series of safe spaces are provided for school going kids – a place to hang out, exercise, play and learn. This intervention sets up new urban typologies for ways to use space around bridges, allowing for a different type of publicness that can be developed over a number of years.

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Liberated Learning : Free University – Spatial Design 2012

Liberated Learning: A framework for a free university

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All images and text copyright of Heather Crawcour.

This project proposes a learning and community centre in Ponsonby’s Western Park. Conceived of as a bridge spanning what was the old proposed footprint of Smith Street through the park, this facility aims to project beyond the limits of the current education system towards a new vision of liberated and participatory learning. The proposal responds to the challenge posed by Occupy Auckland, Auckland’s ‘University without Conditions’ and ‘We are the University’ for equitable access to, and fostering of, knowledge/experience, a common wealth built through equitable social involvement.

The learning bridge is located between two sites of educational significance flanking the park. To the west is what was one of Auckland’s free kindergartens and to the east, the solidly conventional educational institution, Auckland Girls Grammar.

The learning bridge is structured according to different types of learning interaction.

  • Formal assembly – for invited groups, for lecture and presentation styled learning.
  • Zone of levelled learning – a place for level and equal interaction and learning
  • Area of solitude for individual quiet learning. Wood-lined carousels look outwards each with a window that frames a park view.  This space also acts as the knowledge collection point for library or archiving.
  • Spaces of social assembly and gatherings. There is a kitchen, ablutions and comfortable furniture. This spills out onto the park floor to an area used for markets, outdoor workshops, celebrations, displays.
  • Space for the collective body located beneath the bridge – for formal or informal community meetings.

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Red K’Road

Spatial Design together with First Thursdays

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All images and text copyright of Heather Crawcour.

First Thursdays is a community-conscious collaboration of artisans and art lovers whose ultimate goal is to showcase new and exciting talent in the fields of visual arts, music and performance.

For the August 2012 edition of First Thursdays, AUT Spatial Design students painted K’ Road red! Our aim was to help visitors move from one event to the next along the length of K’Road by means of our red installations. This included footpath signage, way finding landmarks, and red massing at key venues.

This project was undertaken by a small group of third year students with support from AUT Spatial Design staff and students.

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Urban School – Spatial Design 2011

Primary School in Newton, Auckland:

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All images and text copyright of Heather Crawcour.

“The preservation or construction of a sense of place is then an active moment in the passage from memory to hope, from the past to future, and the reconstruction of places can reveal hidden memories that hold out the prospects for different futures.” (Harvey in ‘Space, Time and Place’)

The population of Auckland is increasing at a dramatic rate. In order to provide the necessary infrastructure, more community facilities will need to be developed. This proposal is for a primary school on the corner of St Benedict’s and Alex Evans streets in Newton. The urban school supports a formal learning curriculum as well as an after school care centre and a community learning space.

The project aims to regenerate the community by revealing latent qualities of the site. There is reference to the old St Benedict’s school in the void space on St Benedict’s Street. This is an intermediary zone between the street and the school. It belongs to no one and everyone. The urban school includes in-between spaces inside and outside the building. The function of these spaces shall be determined by the community. The project is concerned with themes of gaps in the community, gaps in the urban fabric and ways to reveal and remedy these.

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