09 Oct 23

Woods Bagot Auckland team dream big at Model Citizens 3.0

(Left to right) Craig Hopkins (Senior Associate), Charlotte Smith (Interior Designer), Kairangi Ama (Interior Designer), Jihwan Jihwan Jeon (Graduate), and Robinson Yang (Graduate). Photography: Jessica Chloe Gernat.

Woods Bagot Auckland joins Model Citizens 3.0 as part of New Zealand Institute of Architects’ Aotearoa Festival of Architecture. The teams were asked to “dream big” along the lines of Mayor Wayne Brown’s dream for an open-air swimming pool along Auckland’s Bledisloe Wharf. The competition saw 12 teams from architecture and design studios gather together for a friendly, fun-filled object-making competition.

The brief:

“Mayor Wayne Brown said his dream of opening up the waterfront to Aucklanders was inspired by a visit to the BIG-designed Aarhus Havnebadet, or Harbour Bath – the world’s largest seawater bath. Opened in 2018 in a former industrial area of the Danish city, the project includes “a 50-metre-long pool, a children’s area, a circular diving pool and two saunas”.

His ideas included an open-air, seawater swimming pool, aquaculture, an exhibition centre, te ao Māori ‘showcase centre’ and an amphitheatre… but certainly not a sports stadium! We want to see what landmark structure you think should be built on the city’s soon-to-be “reclaimed for the people” Bledisloe Wharf. It could be a pool like Wayne wants or maybe something quite, quite different.

Your structure will act as a welcoming beacon to the city, like the Statue of Liberty and Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch for St Louis. Or it may be inspired by antiquity, such as the Lighthouse of Alexandria.

Teams had two hours to complete the project build using all recycled and repurposed materials. Following the model making blitz, a presentation was given to the esteemed jury in 1 minute 30 seconds. The models were assessed on aesthetics and technical building skills, the design, its relevance and “general wow’ness.”

The Woods Bagot Auckland team included; Senior Associate Craig Hopkins, Interior Designers Charlotte Smith and Kairangi Ama, and Graduates Jihwan Jeon and Robinson Yang.

Championing the program, Smith shares the concept behind their model, “we decided that as a huge part of NZ culture is the connection to the moana, we wanted to encourage a physical connection to the waters of the Waitematā Harbour so built our structure on the underside of the ‘wharf’ and down into the water. This way, it could act as a fluid threshold between two worlds, and support life in both realms. The idea came in response to the call to reclaim the wharf for the people – the wharf currently projects from reclaimed land so we wanted to take it one step further and reclaim it for the harbour as well.”

“It was a fun night with some interesting ideas coming from the teams. Each team was invited to give a short presentation on their structure as part of the judging process and the range of responses to the brief was surprisingly broad. It’s also always nice to get the imagination flowing and work conceptually without consideration of real-world constraints.”

The 2023 Model Citizens jury included Matt liggins (Director, Matt Liggins Studio), Kim Paton (Director, Objectspace) and Chris Barton (Editor Architecture NZ and 2023 WAF judge). Program organizer; Nathan Inkpen at AGM and sponsors; Resene, Kada, and Laminex.

All funds raised from the event were donated to the Auckland City Mission to help support Auckland central’s most vulnerable residents.

See the Model Citizens 2023 for more highlights.
Gallery below with photography by Jessica Chloe Gernat.

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