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Part 2 Project 2002
Brian Charles White
Fiona Carroll
University of Auckland Auckland New Zealand
ROOFscape : a continuous topography

Interrogation of Felton Mathew’s 1841 plan for the ‘new town’ of Auckland revealed “a hybrid of urban parts” sharing tenuous relationships. Severing and fragmenting the original parts allowed a process of rescaling and remapping to reinterpret these original elements as layers describing aspects of a contemporary city, thus representing the exponential increase in complexity that has occurred over time.

Today suburban sprawl engulfs the natural landscape, leaving a benign environment devoid of its original characteristics, while increasing densification has compressed, displaced or erased public space. Movement is restricted to shaded chasms formed by structures whose sun-drenched rooftops are given over to a bland array of membranes punctuated by air conditioning and communications equipment.

The notion of ROOFscape allows city dwellers the freedom of unrestricted movement across a continuous public surface. Changing textures within this surface provide visual cues by which users orientate themselves to the city below. Native vegetation forming elements of this patterned surface makes reference to a South Pacific identity.

Contours of the original topography inform those of the ROOFscape leaving traces of the past. The first scale shift brings a single precinct into focus. Relationships between public space, pedestrian streets, and transportation systems are explored. Tapering cross sections of glazed pedestrian streets maximise light penetration, while ventilation shafts descend to sunken transportation routes.

Recessed flat areas expose building facades and provide relief from the continuously undulating ROOFscape. A further scale shift examines the façade of a performance and exhibition space within this precinct.

The stage, contained within this elevation, connects an external amphitheatre and internal theatre, while an adjustable curtain serves as the mechanism by which performers can address either or both audiences simultaneously. The final scale-shift moves to a sectional view showing light permeating the ROOFscape and filtering to the spaces below.

Between the large theatre and galleries, a circulation space serves as the major light shaft within the building. The functions of these spaces are given a vertical hierarchy based their dependence on natural light. Within this circulation space, water collected from the ROOFscape flows through a glass wall divided into compartments of varying sizes. Pipes of varying apertures connect these cells allowing each to fill and empty at varying rates.

Patterns of sound and light generated by this wall heighten the inhabitants experience of the space while conceptually linking this small manipulation of nature to that of the far larger ROOFscape.

Brian Charles White
Fiona Carroll

Brian's Design project was completed for a studio programme entitled timecrossings which took the pre-colonial landscape of Auckland New Zealand and asked students to design a new city there which was informed by contemporary urban design theory. Brian's scheme started with the notion of a new city submerged beneath a constructed landscape. This landscape was derived from the structuring patterns of the first colonial plan, but
presented itself in a series of articulated spatial layers which priviledged public space and landscape over the urban crust of new
development. The project investigates in resolved detail how one might start to invent new typologies to support public spaces in this visionary city which embodies a labyrinthine urbanism within the confronting beauty of the New Zealand bush.

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