Installed in Auckland Art Gallery’s Lower Grey Gallery for the 5th Auckland Triennial, the Model Home 2013 by Michael Lin and Atelier Bow-Wow, with Andrew Barrie, responds to the specific design challenge of recreating the building that was also exhibited at the Rockbound Museum in Shanghai in 2012. Originally made of welded steel frames clad in structural insulated panels, they explored the potential to translate the house into the Kiwi timber-and-plywood construction idiom. This would have reduced the cost somewhat, but not solved the dilemmas of waste and conceptual inconsistency. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The Model Home 2012 exhibition was held at the Rockbound Museum in Shanghai. The work of Shanghai-based artist Michael Lin and Tokyo-based architects Atelier Bow-Wow, it’s major elements were a series of huge wall paintings that filled the entire building, and building units that had temporarily housed the workers who had carried out the painting.
In the Chinese context, the welded steel frames are very low in cost and easily worked materials. However, recreating this steel design in Auckland presented a design dilemma – it would have been expensive, created a lot of waste when the building was disposed of after the Triennial, and would have been conceptually inconsistent (in Auckland, no one would live in the house).
The solution proposed by Prof. Andrew Barrie was to create a paper version of the house. This was inexpensive, could almost all be recycled after the exhibition, and solved the conceptual inconsistency – rather than being a building, it served as a literal document of the original construction. This use of construction drawings to represent the building adapted techniques previously developed by Barrie when making contemporary versions of okoshi-ezu, an ancient Japanese architectural drawing technique of making fold-up paper models that served as records and construction documents, particularly for teahouses.
Every aspect of the design and construction sought to minimize costs and test the limits of readily available materials. The construction drawings for the Shanghai building were refined and amplified by Barrie’s team. The structure was built by a group of architecture students who prefabricated timber frames that could quickly be assembled in the gallery. The roof structure was built only just strong enough to support its own weight, and was carefully lifted into place by riggers. The walls and roof were made of drawings printed on standard 80gsm printer paper, hand folded, and joined with double-sided tape. The lighting was simple bayonet fixtures on cables with supermarket light bulbs. A series of paper accessories, including painting tools, household items, super-thin furniture, a human figure and even a sparrow perched in the roof, add charm and recall occupation by the original worker occupants.
After the exhibition, the paper elements will be recycled and the timber frames broken down for re-use in future student projects.
LocationAuckland, New Zealand
Paper House DesignAndrew Barrie
Project ManagementMelanie Pau
Construction TeamMelanie Pau, Howie Kang, Wade Southgate, Nick Hayes, Rita Mouchi, Patrick Loo, Yusef Patel, Sam Wood