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New Zealand Institute of Architects









Finalist – Wesley Twiss

Wesley Twiss from the Unitec School of Architecture was a finalist in the 2019 NZIA Resene Student Design Awards for his project, 'Daylight, Death and Ritual Prometheus'.

Project description

In On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Küber-Ross, the journey one experiences when grieving is seen as a shifting between a series of stages. In this project this wandering – a ‘pilgrimage of grief’ – takes place through the tunnels beneath Auckland’s Albert Park.

Here, deep in the earth, light becomes poignant and is only present wherepermitted. The project aims to use the permitted daylight to evoke an understanding of grief through architecture based on exploring the participants, their rituals, and the context in which the design will be used.

An inner-city crematorium linked to the pilgrimage of grief provides a chthonic conclusion to the investigation. Thecombination of earth, light and fire, and death results in an opportunity Promethean in nature and rich with ritual narrative.


This is an ambitious investigation and literal exploration of a subject modern Western society tries to ignore. Wesley takes us into the Underworld, specifically, the World War Two tunnels under Auckland’s Albert Park. Using as his guide Elisapeth Kubler-Ross’s book On Death and Dying, Wesley seeks to find architectural expression for the stages of grief. The project is atmospheric and provocative; it posits a journey that may be hard but might be liberating.

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