the STUDIO

The MUDDY URBANISM studio will run as part of the 5th Auckland Triennial LAB 1 and will include a one week workshop with renowned San Diego based architect and professor Teddy Cruz.

5th Auckland Triennial LAB

The 5th Auckland Triennial at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is to feature a design-based open laboratory called The LAB. Conceived by the Triennial’s international curator, Hou Hanru, The LAB is a joint project of the architecture and spatial design faculties of AUT University, The University of Auckland and Unitec. Hou describes The LAB as the engine of the Triennial, its intellectual core. As a space it functions like an on-going peoples’ university where specialists come to give lectures, students participate in research and the public come to voice their opinions. Physically The LAB consists of a presentation and discussion space, and a fluid gallery that can be used for performance and improvisation. The goal of The LAB is to bring the energy and flexibility of the design process into the exhibition rooms while addressing some of the major issues confronting our cities.

Teddy Cruz

As a research-based practice Estudio Teddy Cruz has amplified urban conflict as a productive zone of controversy, leading to constructive dialogue and new modes of intervention into established politics and economics of development in marginal neighborhoods. In 2008 Cruz represented the US in the Venice Architecture Biennial and in 2010 he was part of the important exhibition Small Scale: Big Change New Architects of Social Engagement at the Museum of Modern Art. In 2011 he was the recipient of a Ford Foundation Visionaries Award. Teddy Cruz is currently a professor in public culture and urbanism in the Visual Arts Department at University of California, San Diego, and the co-founder of the Center for Urban
Ecologies. See http://estudioteddycruz.com/

The Project

Teddy, Kathy and Esther share the view that architects “can be designers not just of form but of political processes”2, imagining not only forms and objects but also counter-spatial procedures and practices, such as new political and economic structures and new modes of interaction. Central to their practices is the question of representation – finding ways to make the informal flows and forces of the city visible in order that they can be known and recognized, and can become part of design. Cruz says that we must “alter our conventions of representation in order to absorb the ambiguity of these forces”, and that this “remains the essential question in the negotiation between the formal and informal city”.3

Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland has a unique geography, with an extensive coastline abutting urban areas. While as architects and designers we oftern discuss “the waterfront”, the view of this watery edge or “blue space” is frequently restricted to the inner city, the Wynyard Quarter and city beaches. But Auckland “fronts” the water in many different ways and spaces, most of which are ignored in an urban sense.

In the MUDDY URBANISM studio we will critically map the Whau river, a waterway that bisects the inner west of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and feeds into the upper reaches of the Waitemata Harbour. Aesthetically unremarkable the Whau waterway moves as a muddy tide through the mangroves to residential and industrial spaces revealing nothing of the crucial role it has played in the urbanisation of the city’s west.

This LAB project will produce a series of dynamic cartographies cutting across the entire 5.7 km of the Whau, amplifying a series of sections taken at intervals along its length, researching and critically mapping these sections, crossing the waterway and stretching out into the spaces of the neighbourhoods beyond. The intention of the project is to uncover emergent urban potentials that have been and might be generated by the neighbourhoods’ relationship to this waterway as operational frameworks for rethinking existing urban policy and modes of urban intervention.

1 (Read more about the LAB here http://www.aucklandartgallery.com/whats-on/news/design-minds-behind-auckland-
2 Cruz, Teddy. “Border Translations: Urbanism Beyond the Property Line.” Praxis: journal of writing + building, no. 10 (2008): p.92-99.
3 Ibid,. 97.

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