Harnessing the Edge


The existence of hard borders within the contemporary urban landscape creates the potential to challenge our conventional comprehension of formal place-making processes. Careful consideration of such spaces can thus challenge the dominant discourse surrounding a city’s public spaces and established social order. Boundaries can be thresholds, not just barriers, fostering social diversity and creating connections between people and spaces.

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Site Section

This thesis endeavours to investigate the often overlooked, historically unappealing and frequently underutilized spatial remnants of modern urbanisation that occur beneath and around city infrastructure. These spatial configurations create impediments to the cultural, social, and spatial flows between communities within urban environments. By engaging with the diverse cultural dynamics of the surrounding urban context, this research seeks to unveil the potential for transforming the underside of downtown Auckland’s Victoria Park Viaduct into an architecturally vibrant environment within and through which the community actively interacts.



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The process of this inquiry begins with the concept of inhabiting space. Victoria Park holds a rich history that intertwines Māori, colonial and geographical heritage. This thesis aims to uncover the site's historical layers, embracing its complexity by reshaping the landscape to revive its natural and cultural evolution over time. The aim is to recapture the spirit of Wai-Ata-Rau, Te Tō, Tuna-mau, and Wai-kuta, once present here, as a means to blur, punctuate, and redefine the dense boundaries.

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Section through Waiatarau
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Section Perspective through Waiatarau

The findings from these lines of exploration are then tested through a design project centred on Victoria Park. A multi-functional community centre is designed to soften the ‘thick edges’ of the motorway that intersect with the surrounding context. This design project endeavours to create an inclusive, fluid and permeable public space, seamlessly linked to the storied history that precedes it.


Te Tō

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Te Tō Floor Plan
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Section through Te Tō
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Section Perspective through Te Tō


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View into Waiatarau
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Intersection with Victoria Park Viaduct
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Weaving Centre