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The Machine Stops: The Allegorical Architectural Project

20 Nov 2021 to 27 Mar 2022
20 Nov 2021- 27 Mar 2022 (*note summer closedown)
Drawings and models generated through the ‘Narrative Architecture’ stream of the Master of Architecture programme at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington
Event type: 
Art
Price: 
Free
Venue: 
Te Pātaka Toi Adam Art Gallery
Address: 
Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington Gate 3, Kelburn Parade Wellington
Region: 
Wellington

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An exhibition of architectural drawings curated by Daniel K. Brown
With works by Connor Aislabie, Hamish Beattie-Craven, Alice Charles, Adam Clark, William du Toit, Travis Hinchliff, Thomas Jackson, Jonathan Morrish, May Myo Min, Rory Patterson, Michael Weir, Ryan Western, and Nicholas Wilkey

The Machine Stops features a selection of drawings and models by thirteen graduate students and alumni of Te Kura Waihanga Wellington School of Architecture at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. These were all generated through the ‘Narrative Architecture’ stream of the Master of Architecture programme initiated by Daniel K. Brown, Professor of Design Studio. Brown set his students the challenge of developing architectural representations that are generated by bringing narratives from oral, visual and literary traditions together with actual and imagined sites to produce what he calls an ‘allegorical architecture’.

The Allegorical Architectural Project draws on environmental, societal and cultural tales by a range of artists and authors – from E.M. Forster to Italo Calvino, Haruki Murakami, Māori cultural narratives, Burmese superstitions, and more – to connect with and represent aspects of the natural and built heritage of Aotearoa. These drawings and models invite us to consider how tragic stories and scarred sites can be remembered as important lessons for future generations. As Brown puts it:

Tales of environmental devastation are visible to all of us. Cataclysmic events from centuries ago remain as permanent scars upon the landscape; culverted streams remain forever visible as open wounds upon the land. As James Joyce wrote in the margins of his novel Ulysses, ‘places remember events’. A tree branch cracking in the wind, fragments of stone tumbling down a hillside – the natural environment calls out its tale in whispers and whimpering groans, its unique form of storytelling audible to us all. We have only to pause and listen.

The resulting architectural representations are a form of temporal and spatial imagining. They address issues of cultural loss and environmental degradation at the same time proposing speculative means of rejuvenation and remembrance. Demonstrating great inventiveness and remarkable technical skill, The Machine Stops proves the power and utility of visual story-telling as we grapple with the detrimental effects of environmental devastation and envisage new ways of living in this place.

In August 2021, Brown’s Allegorical Architecture Project featuring seven of his students’ work was selected for a special edition of AD [Architectural Design]: Emerging Talents/Training Architects. Edited by Neil Spiller, the publication set out to explore new initiatives in architectural education, including pedagogical strategies that mix the virtual and the actual. Student work from twelve ‘forward-looking architecture schools worldwide’ was identified and introduced by their teachers and applauded by AD for ‘pushing the envelope of architecture in extraordinary ways’. 

Daniel K. Brown is Professor of Design Studio in the Wellington School of Architecture Te Kura Waihanga at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. He completed a Master of Architecture degree at Yale University in 1982 and thereafter embarked on a 14-year professional career as a registered architect, culminating in his role as Vice-President of leading New York architectural firm Emilio Ambasz and Associates. He took up an academic position at Victoria University of Wellington in 1998 where he plays a full and active role in academic life. Brown has received 12 teaching awards and ten research fellowships including the American Fulbright Fellowship. In 2010 a five year retrospective of his architectural research was presented at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

The Machine Stops has been generously supported by the Faculties of Science, Health, Engineering, Architect and Design Innovation, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

*Summer closedown 18 December 2021 – 10 January 2022

Image: Jonathan Morrish (Ngāti Ruanui) Haeata/Beam of Light, Sunrise, 2021, digital collage, pen and ink on paper, digital colour and textures

Image: 

Written by

Adam Art Gallery

15 Nov 2021

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