The Practical and Poetic: Architecture through Ecological and Cultural Narratives

Intro Image 1676 X 1116 2
Exploded axonometric

Storytelling is an incredibly powerful tool used to understand everything around us. In ancient times, stories have been developed in oral tradition to make sense of people and natural phenomena. This thesis considers mythic narratives pertaining to the landscape as a valuable source of knowledge. Utilising the power of narratives, a strategy is employed to link the intangible senses of events, characters and experience to the tangible notion of architecture. Investigations into ecology and mythology of a landscape will inform architectural space, form and program.

Te Tokaroa (Meola Reef), the site for this investigation, is a vast landscape that extends three kilometres out into the tidal flats of the Waitematā Harbour. This black basaltic reef formed 28,000 years ago creates a unique experience, placing the public between the threshold of land and sea. The blurring of boundaries, the sweeping panoramic views and the overwhelming scale of the site creating both disorientation and awe, serve as the context for the architectural interventions proposed.

Master Plan 1 2000 1462X4649 Min
Master plan of Meola Reef site extending 3 kilometres out into the Waitematā Harbour.
Datum Chart Collage Map
Utilitarian measure of maps and datum charts expressed in a poetic manner through collage.
Collage Memories Map Min
A collection of memories from residents living in Point Chevalier reveal the condition of the site during its former life as a landfill and quarry.
Archaeological Map
Mapping European and Māori occupation of site.

A Pūrākau (Māori myth) works to explain the creation of Meola through the use of poetic devices and tales of the supernatural. This thesis works to find the significance of Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) to architecture. The Pūrākau behind Meola Reef will be analysed through personal observation and interpretation, combined with ecological and environmental data, to create speculation on architecture and the landscape.

Continuous Narrative Structure
"Continuous narrative" invites viewers to read the events simultaneously as multiple moments in time, allowing the viewer to control the telling of the narrative.

The understanding of the landscape is crucial to the objective of this thesis. The architectural proposition looks to address environmental concerns discovered through the research of the site. The cumulative degradation to the waterways that run either side of the reef has reduced the water quality to a standard not viable for recreation. This has potential affects to the reef and harbour if not addressed. Additionally, the site’s history as a former landfill site give rise to issues of methane and leachate production which will be addressed through the architecture of this thesis.

Flaring Tower Axo 1462 Width
Open flame flaring tower signifying the rising of Tama-Nui-Te-Rā.
Flaring Render 798 Width
Proposed tower safely mitigates the methane production of the landfill whilst serving as public spectacle.
Long Line Section 2460 Width
The site's dominant organism, the Pacific Oyster, is cultivated on the lower levels of the pier.
Longline Plan 1462Width
The undulating basalt pier brings public close to the oyster aquaculture.
Upweller Plan 798 Width
Upweller system located in the intertidal zone to ensure spat are constantly exposed to nutrient water.

This thesis combines ecology with poetic narratives to produce an architecture that is both functional and experiential. The architecture is a synthesis of infrastructure, architecture and landscape, working to improve environmental health and provide spaces for recreation and contemplation.