Danielle Higgison 2 Natsune Suzuki Thomas Nguyen Whakawhānui - Expansion within the domestic

  • Tauira / Students
    Natsune Suzuki, Danielle Higgison, Thomas Nguyen
  • Kaiako / Lecturer
    Amber Ruckes
  • School
    University of Auckland

"Whakawhānui" - Expansion within the domestic, is a project that embarks on a transformative journey to reimagining a run-down timber boatshed into a dwelling to serve as a sanctuary for Epeli Hau’ofa, a celebrated Tongan/Fijian writer and anthropologist. Nestled at the water's edge of the Wynyard Quarter and Silo Park, this project symbolises the essence of Expansion. It transcends mere physicality, encompassing the boundless expanse of the stellar atmosphere, the limitless growth of wisdom beyond inherited knowledge, and the transformative voyage of cultural perspectives.
Guided by the wisdom encapsulated in Hau’ofa's book "Our Sea of Islands," this project draws inspiration from three quotes that each of the 3 group members of this project resonated with from the author.
Hau’ofa beautifully articulated, "For the people of Oceania, the universe was composed of the surrounding ocean as far as they could traverse, with the stars as their guide. "This guiding principle emphasises the deep connection between Pacific Islanders and the vast expanse of the ocean and its undefined physical boundary.
"They did not conceive of their world in such microscopic proportions" challenges narrow perspectives and encourages a broader, holistic broader worldview and a lens for encompassing the interconnectedness of cultures, environments, and communities.
They plan for generations for the continuity and improvement of their families and kin groups" encapsulates the deep-rooted commitment of Pacific Islanders to the well-being and flourishing of their families and communities. It reminds us of the legacy left by our ancestors, and the responsibility to work towards a better future for generations to come inspires us to create spaces that foster continuity and collective prosperity.
The group members collaboratively merged their quote-driven works, weaving together diverse concepts and atmospheric qualities to create a cohesive vision of the dwelling's form. The collaborative domestic expression was illustrated during the 1993 Matariki Celebrations, capturing the Polynesian spirit.
The space has been transformed, employing a fusion of existing and locally sourced materials; the design pays homage to the Pacifica tradition of gradually building and expanding homes, accommodating the distinct customs of vibrant communities.
The architectural drawing interprets the thesis "Extensions and additions to the domestic dwellings of Samoan diaspora" by Dr Karamia Müller, a Pacific academic specialising in indigenous space concepts, lends an intimate touch to the project by populating the drawings and illustrating “lived-in” spaces. The design transcends the ordinary by exploring indigenous drawing conventions while delving into the spiritual orientations within the dwelling through a relational compass acknowledging the concepts of Mana, Tapu and Noa.
This project wholeheartedly acknowledges the profound social impact of Hau’ofa. His influential work has redefined Pacific Islander identity, promoting cultural resurgence, fostering environmental awareness, and reshaping academic discourse. With deep respect and gratitude, this project embraces Hau’ofa's legacy, seeking to embody and amplify his transformative ideas through the design and realisation of a dwelling that is a testament to his enduring impact on Pacific Island communities.