The river archive

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Couchman, Alice
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Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Schnoor, Christoph
Murphy, Chris
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Horahora Power Station (New Zealand)
Horahora (New Zealand)
New Zealand
memorial design
memory in architecture
sense of place
Yates, Frances A. (Frances Amelia) (1899-1981). Art of Memory
Rossi, Aldo (1931-1997)
Couchman, A. (2017). The river archive (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)).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:
AIM: The aim of this research project was to investigate how architecture can store, evoke and recall memories and histories within its structure. OBJECTIVES: 1. Investigate previous ways in which memorialisation has taken form in Architecture. 2. Absent and lost fragments of the Horahora hydro-station and history will utilised and reinvented to construct a design response specific to the place. 3. Propose an integrated programme - site and histories are no longer lost or absent to their landscape but are acknowledged through the exploration of the site and architecture. 4. To curate and preserve unique source material documenting the experiences, histories and memories of the site - this includes all backgrounds; giving life to stories and their rightful place in New Zealand history. ABSTRACT: The concept of memory within architecture can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome. The focus of this topic is on the six principles and processes of memory described in Frances Yates’ book ‘The Art of Memory’. These qualities - visual/spatial orientation, limited sets, association, emotional affects and repetition - can be translated and reinterpreted through architecture, helping create experiences in construction that preserve and encourage memory. The focus of this design-led research is to design an archive and exhibition center at the submerged old hydro-dam township of Horahora. This archive is intended to be a setting for the safeguarding of decaying, abandoned and gifted artefacts ; providing opportunities for education, reflection and discovery through reconciliation of relationships between historical fragments, the river and its visitors. The research will start with an investigation into how the topic of memorialisation and memory in architecture has developed in a New Zealand context. We can apply the idea of memory from notable international architects such as Aldo Rossi who, through elements from varying epochs, creates a collective memory - a unique relation between place, building and activities that occupy it. His architectural works such as the Modena Cemetery and his Monument to the Resistance in Cuneo, Italy reflect these ideas. Analytical drawings, collage and modelling techniques are used to explore, test and reinterpret theories and the conceptual strategies of the selected precedents. I have applied these tenets to the overall design development of the river archive based at the site of the submerged industrial township of Horahora.
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