Welcome back to another episode of ‘Around the World’. This month we leave Japan and travel to Waiheke Island in New Zealand.
Last month we explored traditional techniques used in modern construction, and this months architectural genius sees an even deeper rooting in tradition and culture. The ‘Waiheke Gateway Pavilion’ designed by Stevens Lawson Architects and built by Holmes Consulting with assistance from students from Unitech (what an opportunity!) has been design with thought and care for not only the culture it is representing, but also for the land on which it stands.
Material: This ceremonial entranceway is made of 255 pieces of laminated pine, each positioned incrementally to form a seamless design, which allows for a fluid form, yet structured in a way that brings to mind the skeletal form of a whale, an important animal in Maori culture. The use of timber on a shoreline is an acknowledgement to New Zealand’s boat building past.
Culture: The organic geometry and angles of this structure form a gateway or Waharoa at each end. The middle has more dramatic angles, creating a feeling of power, like standing on a cliffs’ edge. I can only imagine the sense of belonging you must feel walking through it.
The structure is rich with nature, culture and tradition, I am in love with the obvious feeling of pride locals must feel. It is easy to forget the ways of the old in this present, fast-paced day, but I think this structural cross-roads will do a lot for those who are feeling disconnected or alone. One day I hope to visit it myself.
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