Wunderkammer : scenes of wonder, speculation and discovery

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Blount, Arnika
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Schnoor, Christoph
Kaza, Krystina
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
cabinet of curiosities
Auckland Domain reservoir (N.Z.)
National Centre of Wet Archaeology (N.Z.)
New Zealand
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Blount, A. (2012). Wunderkammer : scenes of wonder, speculation and discovery. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10652/2082
The Wunderkammer was a setting of reflection, research and discovery in early modern Europe, where the collection and its context together created a network of potential associations that acted as a tool for interdisciplinary experiment and active knowledge generation. This research uses the phenomenon of the Wunderkammer as a catalyst in the quest for new ways of approaching the design of contemporary settings of interdisciplinary research and discovery. The focus of this research is the design of a National Centre for Wet Archaeology, a setting of research and discovery with particular relevance to New Zealand, within the context of the historic yet largely forgotten Auckland Domain reservoir. The Domain reservoir is situated directly to the south of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, a location which through this project has the potential to play a key role in relation to the existing museum complex. Commencing with an investigation into the spatial, social, conceptual qualities of historic Wunderkammern, this research traces underlying themes and developments from the emergence of the Wunderkammer in the Italian Renaissance to the fl amboyant Baroque heights of collections such as the Musaeum Kirchernarium. Their legacy will then be traced through more recent works of architecture that share similar spatial and conceptual approaches, from Sir John Soane’s Museum to the Schaulager by Herzog and de Meuron. The relationships between social space and creative process will be explored, as will be the parallels between the experiments of visual association within the Wunderkammer and its architectural context. Analytical drawing and modelling techniques will then be used to distil, reinterpret, and test the underlying spatial and conceptual strategies of selected precedents to see if they can be used to develop an architecture of speculation in the context of the Domain reservoir, one which accepts the uncertainty of knowledge and relates to the wonder, mystery and discovery of understanding. The intention is to create a design that shares the sense of discovery between different levels of expertise and involvement, from the public to researchers working directly with the artefacts, and bring hidden processes and a forgotten part of Auckland’s heritage into the light.
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