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Opposing Forces

Part 1 Project 2002
Pei-Lin (christina) I
Simon Kay-Jones
University of Auckland Auckland New Zealand
By juxtaposing opposing forces, an interesting dialogue is set up between the two extremes.

It is tension, or rather tensions that empower this project for the New Zealand Institute of Architects: between tension and compression; between fragmentation and integration; between sinking and floating; between the solid and the void; and between the linear and curvilinear.

The process began with analysis of the site. It recognise that the architecture mediates between two opposing forces undergoing conflict or divorcing between illusions of history, memory and the future. Once a force has been defeated, the core experiences fragmentation. Through series of transformation, form and space are derived from experiencing juxtaposed divergent forces, housing the activities of an archive, an exhibition and an institution for architects.

The architecture sinks heavily into the ground at the street edge. It is contrasted by lightly supported columns on the lower side. The building answers the site with a lineal shape and is resolved by entering from the street edge. The funnelled ramp disperses people into the heart of the building. Services and circulation positioned in the central core, allowing access with ease to any other part of the building.

In terms of materiality, cold steel mesh is placed together with warm red glass, subjecting the occupants to extreme visual conditions at the same time. The presentation is deliberately set in two opposing modes; the ambiguity clashes with the clarity to reinforce the concept of opposing forces.

The project pursued structural necessity with architectonic articulations that respond to the initial design concept.

Pei-Lin (christina) I
Simon Kay-Jones


Drawing on Marco Frascari’s injunction that architectural drawings are ‘pure expressions of architectural thinking’, preliminary investigations for this third year project critically explored how selected architects employed such notions by interrogating their drawings. This led to a short exercise involving the design of a space in which to display a single architectural drawing. The final project was the design of an architecture centre to house the 80000 drawings of the University Architecture Archive with a related exhibition space. Emphasis was placed on resolving the materialisation of the building in terms of structure, skin, user needs and site. The success of Tina I’s project was the thoroughness in which she investigated the various issues raised about architectural drawing, and employing drawing as a mode of architectural thinking in resolving the design. Early formal investigations made use of the rotation and distortion of geometry as a mode of spatial and formal exploration, and this continue through the development of the design and the resolution of technical details. The final result is a stunningly simply but profound set of spaces and a provocative form set on a tight and difficult site. Entry along a ramp from the street to the centre of the building resolved a functional problem of entry in the placement the vertical circulation at the mid-point of the building, and also creates an architectural experience filled with mystery and surprise. The internal planning and the spaces that can be visualised are elegant in their simplicity. The form of the building is the outcome of a well work process of exploration using physical models, to produce a crisp, clear form that contrast with the existing buildings, yet through its scale, massing and relationship feels well grounded and contextually appropriate. The 1:100 model, whilst being a difficult scale in which to achieve a convincing outcome, in Tini I’s case was exceptional, revealing formal and spatial qualities of the architecture, and the skin-like properties of the cladding. Design development intelligently deployed both hand and computer drawings and three-dimensional modelling, leading to an outstanding computer generated presentation.

• Page Hits: 1086         • Entry Date: 13 September 2002         • Last Update: 13 September 2002