Oceanic grounds, architecture, the evental and the in-between : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Design

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Massey University
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Exploring spatio-temporal flux within architecture, this thesis presents design-based research on the temporal environments of Oceania and Western evental theory. Oceanic thought and Western theories of the event share commonalities, both holding that space and time are inseparable dimensions. This spatio-temporal concept challenges Western philosophical and architectural doxa that privilege stasis over temporal flux, and offers a mode by which to introduce alterity into architectural discourse. I move over these cultural and philosophical grounds in order to explicate and further develop a personal design practice that is of this place and time for, while there is a body of writing that documents Oceanic built environments, there is less research that considers how these may be constituted and communicated through contemporary architectural design. The thesis posits two temporalised environments apparent within Oceanic spatial thought and practice – the shifting and extensive oceanscape, and the telluric groundscape that makes space; and describes two resultant spatial typologies – an oceanspace which is characterised by openness and mobility, and a groundspace which is both surface and space. These contentions are tested and theorised through three architectural experiments developed between 1999 and 2005: the Sounds House, which operates as an open and mutable spatial field; the Ground House, which forms monumental “interiors” that emerge from and relate to the earth; and Tokatea, which blends these two spatialities, fabricating a temporalised environment in between the momentary and the monumental, between interior and exterior. In presenting and discussing these speculative spaces, this thesis moves between architecture and academia, Oceania and the West, the ephemeral and the enduring, and the inside and the outside, with the aim of destabilising architecture’s discursive ground, causing its hermetic boundaries to become temporalised and fluid.
Space and time, Architectural design