Share article


We notice you're trying to make a purchase from outside of New Zealand.
If you would like to place an order, please email full details to

Thank you,

New Zealand Institute of Architects









Kiri McKenna, finalist

Kiri McKenna

Photo by Simon Wilson


Kiri McKenna, from the Unitec Department of Architecture, was a finalist with her project ‘Salon of the Muses’.

Project description

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.

Other finalists