Rebirth of the Natural World : Performative Void and Darkness

2021, Advanced Design 1

With increasing urbanisation of Tamaki Makaurau, layers of the built fabric have led to the suffocation of the natural world. This is seen in the expansion of a colonial city that continues to disregard the cultural spirituality of Maori in relation to landscapes and seascapes. This project aims to give rebirth to the natural world by tracing whakapapa from the beginning of time – through Te Kore (the great void) and Te Po (the night). It offers the people of the city and the university a journey into the whenua and provides a progressive experience of the six sequences of Te Po according to the Lunar Cycle.

The journey starts with a descent into whenua from Alfred Street leading to the varying underground spaces, including the existing 1942 Albert Park tunnels. Through this journey, people encounter a series of liminal spaces leading to performative void and dark realms, which can be activated to cater for different performances. As a decolonising gesture, the proposed design with tunnel integration, essentially establishes zones for people to experience the natural world and to trace whakapapa.

This project gives meaning to the power in darkness, which gives existence to intangibilities – cultural spirituality, memories, imaginations, emotions and senses. Dark spaces are experienced differently due to varying individual responses. Void spaces have unlimited potentialities and space itself is a constantly changing phenomenon. By inhabiting darkness and nothingness, we exist in the realms of reality and imagination: the physical and the intangible.