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Raphaela Rose, 2013 Student Design Awards winner

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The winner of the 2013 Graphisoft Student Design Awards is Raphaela Rose, from The University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning. Raphaela’s final year project was entitled Sex(uality) and the City: Counteracting the Cock-ups of Auckland’s Main Strip.

This project was provoked by two events in Auckland’s sexual history: the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 and plans for the Chow Brothers’ ‘Super Brothel’ in the heart of the city. What impact do these events have on the social ecology of Auckland and what does the changing perception of sexuality and sexual economy mean for the built environment? This project proposes a smaller-scale city, a speculative archipelago comprised of a series of irreducible but simultaneously significant parts which aim to perform as the architecture of exposure. This city is formed by 13 individual buildings; each addresses the symbolic significance of different issues occurring in the sexualised body politic of Auckland city. Formally, each building responds to its respective situation, oscillating between the spectacular, primitive and the refined. In axonometric form, the buildings allow a voyeuristic gaze upon the politically defined architectural forms. In plan, one perceives the extreme power force of this recreated city. This is a satirical visualisation of Auckland’s projected future. 

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Architecture is cleverly and gainfully employed as a satirical tool in this mischievous project. The scenario calls for the city blocks containing the Sky Tower, casino and proposed new super-brothel to be surrounded by a fun park themed by recent local sex scandals. The result is a joyful, rollicking series of attractions, each of them like an exquisitely and wittily conceived fable. Beneath that sugar-coating, a subversive message filters through, undermining the current environment that has been foisted upon the city.