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New Zealand Institute of Architects









Finalist: Hamish Beattie

Hamish Beattie, 2014 student design awards finalist.

Topology of a Phantom City by Hamish Beattie, Victoria University of Wellington Faculty of Architecture and Design.

The project stemmed from its author’s experience working in a United Nations Human Settlements Programme in Nairobi, in which the digital building game Minecraft was used as a participatory design tool. The scheme, which was presented in spectacular models and renderings, explored the use of such readily available tools as a generator of designs for facilities in the ‘informal’ communities which have developed in or around many cities around the world. The project, in other words, introduces self-design to communities which are already self-built. 


This is a brilliantly illustrated presentation of an ambitious proposal to address the needs of inhabitants of slums or ‘informal settlements’. Hamish’s scheme envisages the combination of basic digital technology – the ubiquitous Minecraft game – with a sophisticated, vertically integrated system that recycles waste into energy and the construction materials needed to build sustainable communities.

Other finalists