Spaces of Making as Spaces of Learning

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Perspective from Wakefield Street

The making of physical objects has a long history and tradition in humankind, as well as more locally in New Zealand’s culture. DIY is a popular slogan and attitude and is part of the nation’s identity. Making now is becoming viewed as a specialist vocational pathway, and people from other backgrounds do not readily interact with the processes that shape the material and physical world. This thesis addresses how architecture can develop and promote material intelligence in the public realm, particularly by focusing on informal learning that occurs through the process of physical object making. 

This thesis proposes a City Central Shed. A shed is a familiar term for how many makers began. A little space at the back of a house with an interest in the material world and engaging it by any means we have. The proposal is a workshop on a civic scale, situated in Auckland in proximity to Auckland’s other civic spaces, Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland Central City Library and Aotea Square. Just as how libraries exist for the development and promotion of learning primarily through a literary medium, this building exists for people to learn through a material medium. This thesis examines the overlaps of different production spaces in society, and seeks to address the apparent lack in this niche. The proposed building is tested largely through models. In learning during the process, it testifies the symbiotic relationship of the two. There is unique value in learning through making for individuals and communities that can be realised through architecture.

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View of workshops from Mayoral Drive