Contex-ture: The active edge and asymmetrical destabilisation

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Varney, Martin
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Architecture
Unitec Institute of Technology
Austin, Michael
Bogunovich, Dushko
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
stadium design
urban regeneration
asymmetrically destabilised plan
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Varney, M. (2010). Contex-ture: The active edge and asymmetrical destabilisation. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from
Stadium designs have long presented themselves as enclosures from their settings, introverted spaces with limited opportunities for interaction. The primary focus of this architectural type has been containment: maximum capacity for maximum economic gain, and the delivery of major events constrained to specific intervals of time. As an object, the Stadium does little to provide a permeable interface with which to engage the public beyond these events, that is, at times when it is ‘open’. Many cities have sought to use sports facilities, in particular stadiums, to initiate urban renewal in areas of declining growth. Their reliance has been upon the presence of the facility and not the way in which it could be designed. The challenge: to design stadiums that facilitate interaction outside of time constraints, acting as a stimulus or catalyst for urban generation and regeneration. Looking to integrate various externally driven activities and facilities into a stadium design, my research involves the investigation of a series of different sites in Auckland, possible circulation and pathways, and potential points of engagement with owners and users of the surrounding setting. The resulting design takes the life of a stadium beyond intermittent events and challenges the common organising principle they are formulated around that of symmetry. The purpose of this design is not to propose a model that can guarantee urban generation, but a design methodology that, if adopted, has the likely outcome of urban generation. The turning point in my approach to the process of stadium design originates from the point at which symmetry in the game of rugby destabilises, leading to an “asymmetrically destabilised” plan, a peeling away of the enclosure and a response to the topographical context of the chosen site, Mutukaroa (Hamlin’s Hill).
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