Gemma Jiyeon Kwon HAUMI: Join all together

  • Tauira / Student
    Gemma Jiyeon Kwon
  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    Sue Gallagher, Emily O'Hara, Chris Bentley
  • School
    AUT Art + Design

A dark, narrow laneway surrounded with historical buildings around. Fort Lane, Auckland, was once a seashore. The lane is now a busy urban land after the 1860 reclamations. Yet, the lane is still a threshold between the land and the sea. A hidden waterway constructed underneath Fort Lane transfers stormwater to the sea, silently bridging two spaces: the land and the sea.

In developing a site-specific intervention, the interaction between rain and existing stormwater way is the source of inspiration. My design explores the following questions; How can my design incorporate rain into the spatial project to connect the physical division between spaces: interior and exterior? Furthermore, can the design create a holistic connection between humans and nature?

Rain is the vertical connector between the sky, urban city, land and the ocean. Rain transforms into a different water state and deeply engages with all spaces and living things. Inspired by the natural water cycle, my design creates an artificial rain/weather fabricating system. The design generates different states of water within interior space and links its practical use in human activities. Considering the diversity of visual, functional and atmospheric qualities of rain, the concept of design lands in creating a series of rainy rooms.

Project Haumi is located in Queens arcade, a heritage building in Fort Lane. The project transforms a series of retail stores into a therapeutic yoga studio with a tea lounge; Working with the cleansing, essence and purification images of rain, the new intervention provides a calm retreat space in a busy urban context.

The design opens the existing windows towards Fort Lane and creates a fluidity connection between interior and exterior. Designing a water network system enables sustainable use of rain. It transforms harvested rainwater into different states of water. Artificially created layers of rain and fog aesthetically appeal as kinetic surfaces. Each surface plays an important role as a visually porous barrier between spaces. In a Hot yoga studio, invisible but sensible qualities of water like humidity and temperature work as the main element to shape space. Humans also play a role in water cycles. The human body participates as an individual space along with the sky, land and sea. This idea is reflected in the design idea of transforming the rainwater into a drinkable state of water and using it in the tea lounge. The natural water filtering process through an indigenous tree is involved in this process. The floor design focuses on site-specific materials, metals. Linking to the site's historical context (seashore), the colour Emerald came into my mind as it represents the colour of the Pacific Ocean. Fabricated oxidised copper with natural hues can embrace the transience of materiality in time.

'Haumi' means joining all together in Te Reo Māori. Bringing the external weather condition, cultural, historical and ecological contexts into an interior space. My project creates a holistic connection between interior/exterior and human/nature. It shares the value of modes of sustainable living and invites the public to participate in its message.