Kiri McKenna, finalist
Photo by Simon Wilson
Kiri McKenna, from the Unitec Department of Architecture, was a finalist with her project ‘Salon of the Muses’.
Influenced by and engaging with the writings of authors such as Helen Molesworth, Beatriz Colomina and Denise Scott-Brown, this scheme for an ‘un-museum’ is an argument for a collaborative and less authoritarian design process. The site is the secluded gardens of Auckland’s Old Government House, a resonant location proximate to historic centres of institutional power: government, university, and law courts. The design interrupts the rigid parameters of the site, doing away with fences and barriers, and instead proposing a porous, lightweight and non-pompous architecture. It wanders and digresses, like a good conversation.
The proposal focuses on the productive space that exists on the margins of a site – and of architecture. It is a creative attempt, influenced by feminist thought and a desire to counter the heroics of ‘star architecture’, to explore and break down boundaries and introduce some levity and mystery into a confined space: in this case the grounds of Old Government House in the University of Auckland campus. The use of ephemeral structures encourages an open-ended reading and experience of this site, rather than prescribed occupation and use.