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New Zealand Institute of Architects









Tessa Forde, Highly Commended

Tessa Forde

Photo by Simon Wilson


Tessa Forde, from the University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning, was highly commended for ‘The House that Politics Built: Parliament Aotearoa’.

Project description

The scheme proposes a new Parliament building, located in downtown Auckland, a siting that exposes politicians to the gaze of passers-by in a precinct traversed by theatre-goers, casino gamblers, minimum wage workers and brothel users. Satire is employed as a design driver, but the intention is to design something that is beautiful as well as confronting. The proposal holds up a mirror to modern democratic politics, with its cult of personality, and its venality, scandal-mongering and opportunistic deal-making, all played out in a 24-hour news-cycle. Visibility and proximity, the project suggests, may be spurs to public activism, spurred, perhaps, by revulsion.


This is a clever, compelling and engaging conceptual dissection of the cultural and political state of the nation. The project is provocative, pointed and witty. As good satire does, it makes strong points; unusually, it does so by means of architecture. The project’s multiple elements combine and reinforce each other in a complete and holistic exercise. The components – drawings, models, mocked-up magazines, tourist trinkets, playing cards, t-shirts – are imaginatively conceived and excellently realised. All told, an impressive and sophisticated project.

Other finalists