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Finalist: Natalee Tan

Natalee Tan, 2014 student design awards finalist.

Rotovegas: Playground of Flux by Natalee Tan, University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning.

Influenced by Learning from Las Vegas, the seminal 1972 book by Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour, this scheme celebrates ‘ludic movement’ through, to use Rem Koolhaas’ term, the ‘junk space’ of a modern holiday destination: Rotorua, a.k.a ‘Rotovegas’. The ‘playground’ is an amalgam of real and imaginary spaces: drive-through cinemas; hotels; car parks; skate parks; funiculars and a waterpark. Auto-eroticism, one might say, combined with family fun, in New Zealand’s Sulphur City. 

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By marrying speed and play with urban infrastructure, Natalee has produced a hyperbolic, hyper-real version of Rotorua, New Zealand’s tourist playground. The scheme – engagingly presented in sulpher-yellow renderings and with a rhyming couplet commentary – mandates drive-through fun for locals and visitors.

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