Cobblestone Park light boxes

The light boxes at Cobblestone Park are a joint Victoria University and Wellington City Council venture.

The three light boxes are at Wellington's Cobblestone Park, outside Victoria University's Architecture and Design School, on Vivian Street.

Extract of works from Building Paper by Kirsty Lillico.
Building paper by Kirsty Lillico

Current exhibition

Building paper

Kirsty Lillico

January – July 2021

At its peak in the mid-twentieth century, modernist architecture was proposed as a utopian solution to public housing needs.

Cut from building paper, Kirsty Lillico’s sculptures represent architectural floorplans from a selection of modernist concrete apartment buildings: the Symonds Street Flats (Auckland), the Gordon Wilson Memorial Flats (Wellington), and the apartment of Dr Robert Laing, a character in J.G. Ballard’s 1975 novel ‘High Rise’. 

Darkness dominates these lightboxes; the draped and incised building paper has a seductive petrochemical sheen. Made in collaboration with photographer Dionne Ward, tightly cropped images employ raking light to reveal details of the sculptures. This approach reflects Lillico’s interest in horror movies and follows one of the rules of film-making: to create suspense – don’t show the monster. 

Modernist architecture has been employed as a dystopian backdrop in countless films; feeding the popular opinion that these buildings are cold, authoritarian and depressing. Monsters emerge from these backdrops; from our imagination and from fear of the unknown. This rhetoric of fear has been seized on by politicians, developers, and other forces keen to erase the traces of our recent past. 

Like a necromancer, Lillico re-animates the remains of modernism, to draw out ideas of fairness, collectivism, and the livability of our cities.

Photography by Kirsty Lillico and Dionne Ward

Past projects

Kia niwha te ngākau
David Hakaraia

Two worlds/ two times
Daniel K Brown and Mizuho Nishioka

Bringing the German Pavilion Back Home
Jessica Wright

Transient Crossings: Embodiment in the Everyday
Stacey Mountfort

Christchurch through the Looking Glass
Ryan McCully

Prefabricated Architecture for a Circular Economy
Gerard Finch

Wai o papa: Waterlands (2016)

Wai o Papa, or Waterlands, is a Deep South project, one of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s national science challenges. This cross-disciplinary project investigates how science, art and design can assist Māori coastal communities on the Kapiti-Horowhenua coast adapt to the impacts of climate change. The images on the panels represented on one side, an estimation of the impact of 0.5, 1 and 1.5 metres of sea level rise on the coast between the Waikawa and Ōhau rivers; and on the other, the mouth of the Ōhau River at the lunar high tide.

Deep South Science Challenge: Dr Huhana Smith, Professor Penny Allan, Professor Martin Manning, Martin Bryant, Derrylea Hardy, Jane Richardson, Professor Murray Patterson, Abdallah Richards, Kevin Cartwright.

A Speculative Future (2015)
By Nicholas O'Connell, Holly Loft, Emma Erasmus, Tom Robertson.

Scraping the Sky: A Retreat Upwards (2014)
By Ben Allnatt, Declan Burn, Winston Dewhirst, and Tom Dobinson.

Digital Futures (2013)
By Simone Crane, Shiping Toohey, Jake Evill, Earl Stewart.

Glamping at Ngapotiki Reserve (2012)
By Jono Coates, Sarah Mokhtar, Daniel van Polanen, Tanya Mazurkiewicz , Michelle Hall.

First Light IN4MS (2012)
By Tobias Danielmeier.

Past projects gallery

Contact us

Eve Armstrong, Senior Arts Advisor

Mobile: 021 227 8207