Sam Harris

  • 2020

    Submission # 22

  • Output

    Student – Ākonga

  • Kaupapa

    Identity – Place

    Innovation – Philosophical

  • Location

    Auckland, Tāmaki Makaurau

Project Overview:
A study into the form, shape, and character of three brutalist buildings within my local environment of Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland. "AS FOUND" is a publication exploring the concept of translating physical brutalist structures into graphic patterns and motifs.

Brutalism was a mid-century architectural movement that first emerged in post-war Britain, dominating new forms of architecture domestically and internationally. Characterised by a functional and utilitarian approach to form and style, brutalist buildings are deliberate in showcasing their structural elements, and explicit use of bare materials such as concrete.

With the movement imported to Aotearoa in the latter half of the century, many notable buildings remain still standing and used within our cities. Fascinated by these sites, I aimed to explore the concept of translating the forms and structures of these buildings into graphic patterns and motifs.

Under the influence of Brutalism, a personal approach to graphic form and style was explored. An approach for me, that centers closely around the same guiding 'tenets' that shaped these original structures.

Taking inspiration from the University of Auckland’s Grafton Campus, Lowndes House, and Inland Revenue’s Manukau office, a process of graphic development unfolded. Beginning with photography, each site was investigated and documented - capturing the key quirks that define and make each building unique.

After rounds of sketching and tracing a set of base forms for each site were taken forward into digital development. This involved exploring and testing interactions with namely negative space, perspective, and repetition - catalysts that I used to take each form forward into a full pattern. A process that ultimately worked to the unique characteristics and constraints that each form presented, resulting in distinctive outcomes representational of each site.

The outcomes from this exploration serve as starting points, intending to take these patterns further into a variety of applications. Purposefully integrating and tying these patterns back to their physical origins is an exciting creative mission for me to embark on next after graduation.

Archiver’s Response:

"A profound exploration into the study of brutalist design. This beautifully designed and crafted publication shines an entirely different perspective on some iconic buildings around New Zealand.

Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder and this book highlights just that. It draws out the beauty in these structures that most would find to be ultilitian, governmental, dull or boring.

The shapes and forms that the designer arrives at are powerfully distinctive. The images of the buildings themselves have been treated in a way that allows the reader to visualise their own forms from these structures. The most aesthetically pleasing forms have a mix of pattern and arbitrary elements.

Perception is everything, what this piece of work achieves is opening the eyes of the reader to the environment around them, how it came to be, what can come from it. Challenging ones philosophies."

"Beautiful graphic forms derived from iconic buildings and structures. Well researched, explored and as a result a series of patterns influenced by the past transcending to the future."

"An interesting exploration into the built environment within Tāmaki"

"An interesting documentation of brutalist architecture through high contrast patterns—I am not sure why this approach was taken, but very beautiful."

"I like how graphic design an act as a translating tool between one discipline (architecture) to another, revealing the language of the building to a different audience. This project is a great occasion to rediscover Auckland architectural legacy, and through formal investigation, anchor it in the present."

Credits & Collaborators:
Teacher/Tutor - George Hajian
Teacher/Tutor - Phoebe Ellis
Blank - Julia Gatley
Blank - Max Hurley

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