St Paul st Gallery AUT

Past Exhibitions

Kirsty Lillico: State block

24 November 2016 - 20 January 2017

Frontbox


State Block: roomsheet


Plan of a one-bedroom flat in Symonds Street Flats. Source: New Zealand Architecture: from Polynesian beginnings to 1990, Peter Shaw (Hodder & Stoughton, 1991).

Symonds Street Flats, one block away from St Paul Street, were designed by Fred Newman and built between 1945 and 1947. They opened on the same day as the Lower Greys Ave Flats (also nearby St Paul Street), one of six medium and high-density state rental flat blocks built by the Labour Government during its 1935 to 1949 term. These were part of the government’s response to a post-Depression housing shortage, particularly in Wellington and Auckland. Labour lost the 1949 election and the new National Government promoted private home ownership, made possible by affluence after the war.

Rendering the floor plan of the Symonds Street Flats in remnant carpet, Kirsty Lillico’s work destabilises the hard-edged lines of International Style Modernism with questions of liveability, affordability, and long-term homes. How are such buildings understood, and maintained in a present where the gentrification of urban space and privatisation of government housing prevails? Recent statistics suggest that homelessness affects 1 in 100 New Zealanders. At the same time the heritage and commercial value of Modernist architecture continues to increase. The Symonds Street Flats have a category A heritage listing.

Kirsty Lillico’s work Dormitory is showing in Dunedin Public Art Gallery’s Rear Window space from 26 November 2016 – 6 February 2017.


Kirsty Lillico, State Block, 2016. Photo: Sam Hartnett.

Kirsty Lillico, State Block, 2016. Photo: Sam Hartnett.

Kirsty Lillico, State Block, 2016. Photo: Sam Hartnett.

Kirsty Lillico, State Block, 2016. Photo: Sam Hartnett.