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New Zealand Institute of Architects









Finalist: Beth Williams

Beth Williams from Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington School of Architecture is a finalist for project 'The Keeper of my Memories: An Architectural Fantasy'.

Project description

Welcome to ‘The Keeper of my Memories’. The following works are an architectural fantasy based on the hypothetical reconstructions of my childhood daydreaming. These stories will act as a method to bridge the physical and imaginary realms to spark moments of reverie. They present a unique tale of what architecture could be when a narrative-based approach to design is applied.

Our story is split into three acts. Act One begins as a physical investigation into the miniature realm as a tool to transport viewers to the imagined. It follows a model maker as they construct a doll house.
Act Two follows a story of seven characters: ‘The Boat Builder’ and ‘The Dressmaker’, ‘The Lepidopterist’ and ‘The Gardener’, ‘The Stargazer’, ‘The Modelmaker’ and ‘The Writer’. Over time, we follow one house at 8-10 Lime Road, Bristol, England. The building presented is never a static piece of architecture. It is forever changing and evolving with its inhabitants. The architecture which follows is no longer just the backdrop on which a story plays out. Instead, the architecture acts as an integral role in our story.

Act Three begins in a reality created in Act Two. The story of the characters at Lime Road is a film. The characters are actors. The building is a film set. Welcome to the inner workings of the film at Lime Road, ‘The Keeper of my Memories’. Look closely at the world presented, what can you see? The cast and crew? The slides and ladders? The department gondolas? The rooms of 8-10 Lime Road?

The ‘Keeper of my Memories’ dares to consider the possibility that the imaginary worlds we conjured and created over our lives are no longer lost in the imagined.

‘The Keeper of my Memories’ provides hope for the dreamers.

Jury citation

This project shows complete freedom of imagination beyond the limitations of architecture. It is so optimistic in its imagining and all strings and threads have been pulled into an inspiring set of models and images.

The level of detail is profound and creates a captivating journey. This work is beautiful, the modelling is exquisite, and we are curious to know where this will lead. You could keep building on this project, developing stories and making movies.

This is a strong reminder of the importance of imagination and bringing that spirit to architecture. It places architects within an unbuilt world and all its potentials, none of which entail building codes.

Lucid dreaming is present, as is living within imaginary spaces. It brings you back to your earliest memories. The models capture the imagination and the delicate scaffolding within the doll’s house sets up a space of safe imagining and dreaming. What’s intriguing is the idea of actors having sets around them and that architecture is purely a stage set, for which scenes unfold.

This demonstrates spectacular imaginings for our industry and how practicing architecture in the future is an exciting and unknown galaxy of opportunity. We have to cherish artists and this is a fantastic piece of thinking and genuine imagination that needs to be honoured.