Alistair Munro Intro Image
Background text from Mark Wigley, in “Utzon’s Wings,” lecture, Staedelschule Architecture Class, 2011; glass, ceramic, ink, digital screen

This thesis looks at the ways that the creative fields work to discuss and communicate ideas of a current New Zealand identity. The project is framed by my own position, as a first generation New Zealander, with my own frame of reference as one of the many voices that make up a national conversation. In the same way that David Mitchell told the story of New Zealand architecture over a particular time period through The Elegant Shed*, it engages with existing creative works to establish a current situation, which my own design output adds to as one step in a continuing narrative.

It questions subjects of locality, culture, identity and the vernacular. The rise of digital technologies and social media is recognised as the latest input to this complex cultural system.

The research focus includes the work of key New Zealand architects and artists as the creatives engaging with these ongoing questions, and how we might represent or challenge them in our work.

The project engages with the acts of making and design as means to explore social and cultural issues, in addition to developing a formal output. This occurs across a range of scales and mediums as recognition of the limited perspective gained through any individual approach. Exploration is made of the ways that architecture relates to wider creative fields and crafts as parallels, or as developmental and representational tools.

This is applied to the site of Waiheke Island, as a means to study, develop and communicate local issues in the context of the visitor and tourist. A series of architectural interventions work together to create a multi-faceted experience, with consideration of how to encourage engagement at a meaningful level for a range of visitors.

  • * David Mitchell and Gillian Chaplin, The Elegant Shed: New Zealand Architecture Since 1945, Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1984.
Alistair Munro Top Knot
Top Knot Hill, Waiheke; ink
Alistair Munro Site Model A
1:20 000 model of Waiheke Island; card and mirror
Alistair Munro Castings
1:5 000 site models; patinated cast bronze, steel
Alistair Munro Quote
David Mitchell, The Elegant Shed: New Zealand Architecture Since 1945, Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1984; ink
Conceptual Frames; recylced weatherboards, steel, glass, sailcloth, paper acrylic, LEDs
Vessel: a pair of tables for Waiheke; recyled Rimu and steel
Pōhutukawa, steel, found objects
Alistair Munro Zac
Zac Athfield, talking on the work of Ian Athfield; Awaroa, October 2016