A Marketplace Intervention into Fort Lane
A film’s disposition is fundamentally derived from the stacking of cuts and scenes, within which characters interact and evolve. A timeline gives these stacked cuts chronological sense, tying facets of story-line and characters together to create intrinsic plot and narrative action. Fort Lane, in downtown Auckland, acts as its own scene wedged into a larger urban narrative. Performing as Auckland’s foreshore in the 1800s, the land around it developed into a major trade and merchant hub between Pākehā and Māori because it was the centre of a network of waterways, and surrounded by fertile volcanic soil for crops. Ricocheting off these ideals of trade, I propose a marketplace that re-invigorates traditional uses of the land as a source of sustenance and inspires newfound festive moments of exchange between characters from the plot of Tāmaki Makaurau.
The Ark seeks to reembrace and reinvigorate the historic festivities of trade and exchange which brought together Māori and Pākehā on Auckland’s foreshore in the eighteenth century. Our brief asked us to use cinematic techniques to position a social intervention into Fort Lane, so I drew parallels between the narratives of characters interacting within a film, and these early characters of Auckland meeting and building a proto-urban narrative.
After taking initial inspiration from these festivities, I looked into the physical constructs which facilitated these activities to occur: ships, cranes, and docks. Large merchant vessels carried goods into and throughout the Hauraki Gulf, supplying the growing city with goods. The narrow, slender forms of these merchant sail ships reminded me of the spatial anatomy of Fort Lane. Initial observations through a camera lens helped me observe conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles in a contest for space and the way they obstructed public interaction. In my design, glass elevator shafts act as the masts of the vessel hosting the marketplace, suspending a ‘hull’ several meters above the sunken lane floor. This is where the social festivities of trade occur, anchored by cables resembling rigging which are fastened from the tops of the Ark’s masts. Anyone is invited to come and set up a market stall. Small bifold stalls could be collected from a storage space, and their small, minimal plywood construction encourages spontaneous, temporary uses.
The Covid-19 pandemic, which puts hundreds of countries into lockdown, has highlighted the vital importance of social interaction. Forced into solidarity, we began to understand the value of living in a diverse, communal world where we can connect and help one another in our journeys. I celebrate the luxury of connecting with one another with my proposal for a marketplace.