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Building intent: Spaceworks and the plan to fix Auckland's housing crisis

At Idealog, we regularly celebrate our community’s brilliance. But for Idealog’s design issue, we wanted to showcase some of that brilliance in a slightly different way. So we contacted Lego to see if it could provide a few blocks to send out to some of our favourite humans from the fields of art, design, architecture and creative business.

Fortunately, Lego said yes, which is handy given the blocks are about as valuable as gold these days, and gave us a selection of architecture sets (available at all good toy stockists!). Even though the theme of the issue was ‘decisions with intent’, we decided not to give any of our chosen blocklayers a specific brief or make them adhere to any rules. The beauty of this project was that it was entirely in their hands. We did wonder if sending out Lego and saying ‘make something amazing’ went against the issue’s theme, but we justified the decision by telling ourselves that the various ideas would be a tangible representation of their decisions – and offering them a few suggestions, like visualising the theme of the issue, making a comment on society, or setting the blocks on fire and/or blowing them up.

Giving up creative control is always risky. But high risk often equals high reward. And, as you can see from the first example below, we were right to have faith in their brilliance. 

'Auckland Central'

Creators: Spaceworks (William Cullen, Melanie Spencer and the Design Team)

Description: “Chasing the Kiwi dream of owning our own home remains prolific. A house (favoured over an apartment), preferably with a large lawn, three bedrooms (for the perfect family of 2.5 kids), in a respectable area and one that can be renovated so we ‘can make a handsome profit’, is what we’re all striving for. As a group of designers, we bring our client’s dreams to reality but the reality is, most of us can’t actually afford to build our own dream home. For those of us who do own a home, the bank owns most of it. It all seems so ludicrous, in fact, much like child’s play. So, after some research on the housing market, we wanted to showcase the almost comical side of chasing the Kiwi dream. With Lego as the design medium we wanted to reflect our astonishment in a starkly contrasting manner. Firstly, we took the physical to digital, using a programme similar to AutoCAD (what we use on a daily basis) and built a house inspired by typical state-housing in New Zealand. The Kiwi Dream is now market ready with its own packaging and price tag. A bargain we reckon.”