This paper was originally piublished in July 1987 in Design Magazine (UK). It tells the story of a student project in the Community Design Studio at the University of Auckland. Two years earlier, the Sstudio had been engaged in the contraversial Alternative Aotea Centre Scheme that had pitted the then Mayor of Auckland, Catherine Tizzard (the ex-wife of a Labour Party Minister) in a contest against the author and colleague John Hunt for the hearts and minds of the people of Auckland. Ms. Tizzard (who later became Governor General) used her weekly editorial column in the Auckland Star newspaper to villify and attack the characters of the two of us, in order to ram through her support for the poorly-conceiced performing arts centre. Although the student design had the full backing of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, the mayor prevailed and the design by Ewan Wainscott that she favoured was built.
That experience remained a thorn in the side of the Town-Gown relationship for the next two years. Then, in 1987, the Council invited tenders for the development of a piece of its land on the Karangahape Road ridge, above the city. The Community Design Studio decided to submit a design proposal. But mindful of the past experience with Council, it did so secretly and anonymously, under the auspices of a development company. The design was shortlisted along with two others. This is the story of what happened next.
Apart from the drama of our further interaction with Council (the contract was given to the brother-in-law of the Chair of the Planning Committee (who himself had been a partner in the winning company a couple of years previously), and this author was sued for defamation for pointing this out!) the process itself was a major stepping stone in the development of a consesus design pedagogy that later proved extremely successul, and was lauded here
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