Share article


We notice you're trying to make a purchase from outside of New Zealand.
If you would like to place an order, please email full details to

Thank you,

New Zealand Institute of Architects









Nicholas O'Connell, finalist

Nicholas O'Connell, Victoria University of Wellington.

Photo by David St George

Nicholas O'Connell, from the Victoria University of Wellington School of Architecture, was a finalist for his project Into the ‘Verboten Island: Drawing Out Indeterminate Architecture’.

Project description

A proposed rehabilitation facility for Somes/Matiu Island in Wellington Harbour becomes the vehicle for the exploration of the generative possibilities of composite drawing and modelling techniques tested along trajectories pertaining to an uncertain architecture. The facility’s series of buildings is created through folding and unfolding, moving along two vectors, as if architecture, to paraphrase Gilles Deleuze, were made up “of two stages of floors: pleats of matter, and the folds in the soul”. Through iterative making and drawing in a range of techniques, indeterminate conditions are extrapolated out into uniquely charged spatial outcomes.  


This is a rigourous and committed exploration of process over program, that extends and disrupts the traditional boundaries of the design process and explores the potential of atypical design technologies. In his quest for indeterminate architecture, Nicholas has successfully bent and refracted space, employed robotic arms, investigated stereoscopy, and exploited the potential of errors and glitches.

Other finalists