This project marks the beginning of an investigation into architecture, spatial theory and practice. More specifically an examination within ongoing contemporary research, in an effort to comprehend the discourse surrounding the Anthropocene. As a whole, my work reflects on ideas of contingency and the unpredictability of process and change in nature, substance and structure. I considered my interest in making things and the environment in which they’re made by investigating the structural methods and materials from which architecture is produced and how these techniques are considered when responding to place. To this end, I have produced a report that aims to bring together current research on the theoretical study and practice of architecture with a retrospective description of my travel movements.
“Physical separation, jurisdictional specificity (and) cultural difference”  are key factors that define an oceanic islands capacity to build. With these factors in mind, Hawaii began as a point of reflection in my work. Geographically isolated and rooted in volcanic eruptions, the archipelago is conditioned from the nature of matter by which it’s composed. Living in hybrid circumstances, Hawaii has an undeniable relationship to the earth and is currently dealing with the consequences of anthropogenic transformations of land, ocean, biosphere and climate which consequently punctuate decisions to build.
Like many archipelagos, Hawaii’s local operations and infrastructure, which appear deceptively remote, are inextricably linked to a wider global system. I developed a project dedicated to exploring five interrelated and architecturally significant sites on Hawaii Island. Under the funding of a-n Artist Information Company, I had the opportunity to photograph and undertake this site based investigation throughout May and June of this year. The first site I chose to visit was Mauna Kea and the astrological research observatories located at its summit. From there, I drove to Kona, a popular tourist destination which, for some, successfully meets the expectations of island paradise. My journey continued to South Point, a National Historic Landmark and one of the oldest archaeological sites on the island. Sticking to the south ridge of the island I spent time exploring the unique lava landscape of Kalapana and finally ended my journey in a neighbouring town, Pahoa, located uncomfortably close to the Hawaii hotspot. All of these sites are broadly linked and I observed them as plausible drivers and reflections of natural catastrophe, tourism, and the behaviour of an elite minority.
The bursary offered a unique opportunity to experiment with photography throughout a landscape full of atmospheric diversity. Photography was an important and revealing tool in helping to translate my thoughts about architecture and its connection to place. The photographs I took are neither complete nor fully representative of the entire journey but as the text casually reveals are pertinent in the process of understanding architecture and its increasingly complex relationship to Hawaii’s condition.
The text aims to provide a descriptive apparatus in an attempt to associate the complexities of each site with relevant architectural theory. It is not an exhaustive critique of Hawaiian architecture and the geological landscape nor does it offer a fully integrated or balanced outlook on the relationship between human infrastructure and the earths geology. Rather, a provisional outlook through my experience of travel complimented with a brief spatial analysis and emphasis on anthropogenic climate change. Visiting the island gave me a privileged vantage point from which to view architecture and in writing this report, with the support of a-n, I have developed a critical methodology, which I can now apply to my current work.