For Kaikohe

Sophie Crews

Sophie Crews Render 1
Youth of Kaikohe in the workshop and performance amphitheatre

Kaikohe, a small town of the Ngāpuhi iwi, located in the Northland region, has suffered the destructive effects of crime through the establishment of Ngawha Prison, struggling local businesses, unemployment, exacerbated gang activity, and youth delinquency. Despite these trying situations, an overwhelming and undoubtable sense of pride in their town and whānau flows from Kaikohe’s people. A yearning to learn Kaikohe’s story and to contribute to its optimistic future is the motivation for this thesis.

Sophie Crews Section A

This thesis offers a cohesive urban revitalisation along the main arterial road of Kaikohe, connecting proposed community pavilions to the existing cycle trail, rejuvenated street frontage and revitalised town signage. It will tell the story of both Kaikohe’s past and its vision forward. Weaving, a cultural practice of the Ngāpuhi people, endowed with spiritual values of unity and togetherness, is translated to site strategies and structural techniques. The project weaves together generations on its site, akin to the harakeke bush’s articulation of the tūpuna (grandparents) and awhi rito (parents) protecting the rito (child), reflecting the importance of whānau in Māori culture.

Sophie Crews Weave 2
Weave / site strategy

The project that this thesis will interrogate has become pointed and site-specific, but has emerged from a broader enquiry into the relationship between architecture and crime. This research began from an interest in New Zealand’s unprecedented prison population and failure to reduce re-offending rates, and through a research-by-design process, has progressed to an enquiry of architecture’s role in the restoration of a real-life town that has seen a decline in its livelihood due to the effects of crime.

Sophie Crews Entry
Sophie Crews Road
Broadway / Kaikohe main arterial road

Part I (Restoration) of this thesis explores the current state of New Zealand’s ideologies of crime and criminal justice, and contemplates a reform using spatial and programmatic principles from Scandinavian prisons. Part II (Prevention) endeavours to establish such principles in a real community situation (Kaikohe), but shifts from a focus on the transformation of offenders to a potential prevention of youth criminality through the restoration of community and engagement. Part III (Instigation) observes the design process of the proposal for Kaikohe, influenced by the people of Kaikohe, contributing to an awareness of this town’s potential and its people’s resilience.

Sophie Crews Render 2
Sophie Crews Korero
Sophie Crews Flax

An important contemplation of this thesis is its observation of the logistics and ethics of working with a real community, a foreign culture and other architectural practices, and the resulting influences on the design process. As a result, this thesis follows a long and ever-changing journey of an idea.

Sophie Crews Section C