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Finalist: Ashley Benck

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Bio-Body Reactor by Ashley Benck, Victoria University of Wellington Faculty of Architecture and Design.

This thesis questions how the cyborg – as a hybrid creature, composed of organism and machine – can be used as a catalyst to re-engage the body with architecture. The method employed is iterative, with three key areas explored in the argument of the proposition: precedent, site and programme. The design method concentrates on a process of fluctuation between the analogue and digital, micro and macro, body and machine. The inquiry also acknowledges and accentuates the current condition of Wellington City as a macro entity, and prepares it for the future by rethinking existing parts, such as the industrial mechanisms that could contribute to the city’s energy generation.

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This exploration of the complex relationship between humans and machines (cyborgs) is presented with impressive, evocative imagery. Integral to the concept is the presence of algae and its potential to sustain humanity on several levels. The building itself has a cinematic, menacing and thought-provoking quality.

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