Cultural Codes

Cultural Codes, exhibited at Tokyo Designer’s Week in 2013, was an investigation into the practice of living culture within contemporary Māori art forms. The project used parametric methods to design an interior structure based on traditional Māori weaving patterns and embodying core concepts of Māori visual culture, Te Whare Pora (Tay-Fah-ay Pu-rah).

“Te Whare Pora is held as a place of artistic mastery and the knowledge passed from one generation to the next is enriched with the wisdom and mana gained from those who it came from. The installation space immerses participants in the mindset of the master weaver at work; introducing them to Te Whare Pora as a physical space and a state-of-mind.”

-Perkins, Spell, et. al (accepted publication, International Journal of Interior Architecture and Spatial Design)

parametric modeling photo credit: Fumio Araki

In addition to the cultural reflections in the design and process the structure is a social intervention. Otitis media, glue ear, is an ear condition that effects children and leads to hearing difficulty and often times is correlated with poor performance in school. In New Zealand the condition disproportionately effects Māori. Cultural Codes is constructed from felt sound tiles and is designed to improve acoustics in spaces. The geometric design reflecting Maori craft are also a cultural connector for students and serve as a pedagogical catalyst for introducing students to the mathematics embedded within their cultural productions.

This was a collaborative exhbition between myself, Natasha Perkins in the Victoria University of Wellington, School of Architecture and graduate students in the Schools of Architecture and Design. Read more about the project at the Sound Concepts Research Programme Page.

parametric modeling Parametric Model for cultural codes structure