The School of Architecture and Planning

Digital Archive

Being with the Stars

2021, D2

As an attempt to rediscover one’s sense of orientation lost within a spatial organisation of labyrinth complexity, the transformation of Claude Megson’s Horrocks House into an observatory seeks to look towards the stars. The vision of revitalising the wisdom of Tātai Arorangi allows one to reorientate and strengthen its connection to the mana whenua.

The inversion of the architecture utilises its existing unintentional Poutama stepped-pattern typology, which simultaneously creates a large open space at the very top as the observatory level. In addition, the poutama language is further celebrated from the interior to the exterior, as if overall an ‘infinite poutama’ towards the stars above, ascending one towards a higher spiritual and intellectual plane.

Alike a Māori star compass with the 32 whares, the observatory, in particular, greets the rise of Matariki in the northeast as every year, it marks the beginning of a Maori new year. A time of remembrance and reflection of those who passed and a celebration of a new beginning. The observatory hopes to bring together the Remuera community as observers of the night sky, taking omen from the heavens. Celebrating the people, the culture, the language and the spirit of those beneath the stars.