Stephenson&Turner again sponsored a collective event of student projects run managed by the Auckland School of Architecture. “Here Now: Reimagining New Lynn” is an initiative where students design and fabricate installations that emphasise the critical aspects of New Lynn. It aims to get people engaged, activated, and involved in the future of this precinct currently suffering in many way, such as vacancies or the huge transport upgrade. The installations will be part of the Auckland Heritage Festival 2013, which commences on 28th of September. 

Over four days in October (from Thursday the 10th to Sunday the 13th) visitors will be able to self-navigate a trail from the New Lynn Station to the Titirangi Road intersection, discovering imaginative large scale temporary installations. The idea is to use this event to activate New Lynn bringing this area to life, filling empty shops and public space and capturing the public's imagination with the use of sound, light, projection and social media.

On 16 August, after two months of developing concepts for their installations, I had the pleasure to be part of a jury that selected the most promising works so far. The judges were Craig Moller (Moller Architects), urban designer and architect Sue Evans, engineer James McAllister, NZIA President David Sheppard, Charles Walker (Dean of the Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies at AUT), Kate Rogan (Rogan Nash Architects) and International Architects in Residence at the University Takaharu and Yui Tezuka of Tezuka Architects, Tokyo, and myself. Project-leader Esther Mecredy had organised the event perfectly to allow for all 120 students to present their group-works. It was an exciting morning for the jury-members, delving into the unleashed creativity of the next generation, and for the authors.

I guess for the students the most enlightening part was the participation in the discussion of the jury about the finalists. Takahara Tezuka had the splendid idea of sharing our final discussion with all students. It became absolutely quiet in the large studio when we debated about the pros and cons and the criteria applied.

One key point of the debate was about the priority of either showcasing a generic witty folly at a public event or engaging with actual potentials or problems of New Lynn. The students could potentially transfer this debate to the level of iconic versus contextual architecture. They also learned that jury judgements are quite volatile and can change dramatically throughout the discussion. In summary, this morning spent in the university’s exhibition space provided multiple lessons. Beside the lucky winning team, all participants could gain deep insights into the nature of our profession and looking into their charged faces afterwards confirmed that this lesson has been well-received.

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