HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 650: 23 January 2013

Second year better

It is that time of the year again. University students are home for the summer. Some can officially say that they have completed the year while others, are still awaiting results. Though being in a state of uncertainty is nerve-wracking, I know one thing for sure – that this has been an amazing year!
On October 20th, I had the privilege of visiting Christchurch for the first time. I never understood the extent of the damages until we visited the Red Zone. Large vacant lands made the place appear deserted. Buildings were shattered beyond repair. Roads were scribbled with tar-seal. In an attempt to restore historical buildings, roads were closed off so that extensive work could be carried out. The site was heartbreaking, yet the aura emitted from the friendly people of Christchurch made me overlook that. In fact, it drove us more to help create an event that would bring excitement and hope for the city’s growing recovery.
Luxcity is a large-scale fabrication studio with the purpose to design and build a ‘city of light’ for a one-night event at the Festival of Transitional Architecture (FESTA). The project is organized in collaboration between the School of Architecture and planning here at the University of Auckland, the Spatial Design Department at the Auckland University of Technology, Unitec, Victoria University, and CPIT.
16 installations used light to create spaces for pop-up activities such as live music and performances, bars, and cafes - all of which were created by the hands of over 350 architecture and design students.
The entire event exceeded our expectations. Though some groups admitted that their projects did not function as planned, thousands flocked the city center and welcomed the installations with awe. In fact, we received so many uplifting feedbacks from the public that we almost forgot the flaws in our display.
In particular, team Etch-a-Sketch, who are also fellow members of our year, faced a major setback two days before departing Auckland. Installation materials that had taken an entire semester to prepare were stolen from a car in Auckland City. Despite sudden panic and fear, the team devised a plan. Students changed their flights and worked sleeplessly through the night to restore what they had lost. In 24 hours, the team, with the support of sponsors and others, were able to remake and resource the materials needed to exhibit a successful project.
It was the biggest project of the year for us, yet we arrived home to three more assignments. Apart from an exam, the biggest was a model.
In groups of four, we had to construct a 1:10 sectional model of a timber-framed house that complied with NZS3604, (New Zealand’s building regulation for timber-framed buildings). The difficult part about the project was paying careful attention to detail. Every single material used within a real life timber-framed building needed to be accurately represented in the model. That included insulation materials, floor, wall, and roof linings, and finishing’s, gutters, thickness of anchor piles, exterior wall cladding, and much more. Working in groups was both a challenging, yet educating experience. It exposed us to different ways of dealing with people and different work ethics.
Despite rough patches, I can honestly admit that second year was more enjoyable than the first. Time will tell whether we will enjoy the results just as much.

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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