The School of Architecture and Planning

Digital Archive

The Evolution of Creation : Separation of Ranginui and Papatuanuku

2020, D6

This design is inspired by the Māori world view of the Evolution of Creation which focuses on the separation of Ranginui and Papatuanuku. There is an evident tension in the built form to demonstrate the parents’ opposition to being separated – Papatuanuku is tied to the land, whilst Ranginui is tied upwards to the sky. To clearly differentiate the spaces, Papatuanuku is represented with the customary marae gabled roof with curved forms, whilst, Ranginui is represented with modern forms and an emphasis on technology. The architecture aims to communicate the creation story through the built form and progressive experience – by bringing people from the state of Te Pō, to Te Ao Mārama, and Te Rangi. 

Te Pō symbolises the darkness that was caused by the parents’ fusion. There is a dark exhibition space educating the people about the creation story to understand the architecture. Te Ao means “the light” symbolising the world of light after the separation. There is water flowing into this space as a representation of Papatuanuku’s blood. The walls are made out of woven panels because in Maori society, fibre arts are used to symbolise female practice. The space is embedded within the ground to embrace and celebrate Papatuanuku. Te Rangi is a space with a sense of openness – connecting the people, the land, and the ocean. The form of the shelter is a metaphor for the double hull canoe that Polynesians used for navigating. The shelter design features a steel gridshell with wood grain coated aluminium, glass and PV panels.