Two Mountains

2020, AD2

This project addresses the overwhelming tension between two mountains which stand in opposition in central Tāmaki Makaurau: Maungawhau Mt. Eden and Mt. Eden Corrections Facility. Two Mountains seeks to acknowledge the human and material histories of the area and, through programmatic and architectural intervention, strives toward the decolonisation of a traumatised landscape. The project’s prescribed site is that of the historic Colonial Ammunitions Company structures which sit in the space between the Maunga and the prison. Specifically, the project deals with a stone warehouse and steel shot tower which together embody the powerful dynamic of the area. The warehouse building (c.1922) was constructed from the stone of the Maunga and with the labour of those held at the prison; the colonial quarrying of a sacred volcanic cone. The shot tower (c.1916)  stands between the two mountains and represents both literal and figurative blights which plague the land; a violent colonial history and the toxified earth resulting from the production of lead-based ammunition. The site is left in a state of suspension, stuck between two masses of immense significance. The project manifests itself as a series of workshopping, teaching, and library spaces to be used for prison literacy programmes. Two Mountains focuses on literacy training as a key intervention in the cycle of recidivism and strives to aid incarcerated people in their journey to emancipation.