Telling Many People's Stories

3D View Manukau
Watercolour Drawing - perspective view from Manukau Station/Manukau Institute of Technology

This thesis found its position through my perspectives on questioning the multicultural representations through architecture of my country, Malaysia and Aotearoa/New Zealand.

When I began my thesis year, two questions nagged at me: firstly, how do individual immigrants arriving here with different cultural baggage find a place for their culture to help them feel at home, and secondly, how can building designers respond to the challenge of cultural representation and relevancy for an increasingly multicultural population?

As our communities become increasingly diverse, cultural buildings raise complex questions of representation and definition. In this thesis, I shall investigate how the social and cultural representation of museum architecture depicts the narrative of a culturally diverse city. I shall apply my findings to a design for a multicultural building: a museum in Manukau City’s Hayman Park. 

The design aims to address the urban revitalisation of the city centre and to provide a focus on the great cultural energy of South Auckland.The design will acknowledge the need for cultural spaces that enable memory, imagination and anticipation to engage different people by exploring the role of narrative and metaphor in architectural perspectives.

General Content 2
Masterplan and cross sections of Manukau City Central

In the vibrant, colourful melting pot of cultures lies the contemporary Manukau City, with only a sprinkling of community and cultural buildings that reflect or connect its diverse communities. A new museum, Te Papa North that echos multiculturalism and diverse cultures is proposed. This project will take on an important role for the whole city, acting as a nexus and connecting all paths together within Hayman Park. 

Inspiration 2460 Px
Major sourced aspirations for Te Papa North Museum design

My cultural context research led me to explore the interwoven relationship between the cultural artefacts and the narrative potential of creating myths to provide sources of vital orientation for my museum design. I have chosen to focus heavily on 'waka huia' which carries the symbolism of cultures as treasures for my museum.

Horizontal Section 2460Px
Horizontal section of Te Papa North Museum

The columns (coloured in light orange) represent Tāne Mahuta, the God of Forest separating his parents, Papatūānuku (The Earth Mother) and Ranginui (The Sky Father) based on the creation genealogy of Maori Universe. The lofty ceiling and significant height difference with wide curtain panels emphasises the openness and welcoming gesture to its surrounding nature and people, while illustrating the story of light entering the realm of a Maori universe.

Longitudinal Section 2460Px
Longitudinal section of Te Papa North Museum

The building form is also heavily inspired by the drawing of Paumotu Creation of the Universe, where the arched canopy represents 'heaven' while different levels in the museum represent different layers of the human realm.

General Content
Axonometric view of Te Papa North's main building
Floor Plans Portrait 2460Px
Floor plans of Te Papa North Museum
General Content 3
Axonometric view of Te Papa North's entry wing and education wing
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Cafe entrance at entry wing
Watercolour Images 2460Px
Watercolour drawings - perspective and interior drawings of Te Papa North Museum
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Hand crafted conceptual models of Te Papa North Museum
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Hand crafted developed model of Te Papa North Museum