The “Auckland Strip” exhibition depicting the sexual politics of Auckland city, New Zealand, launches on 24 June at The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture, featuring the work of Raphaela Rose.

Her work is in the form of ‘paper architecture’ which considers the use of design as an instrument for social intervention. The main focus of the exhibition will be a series of drawings, plans and marzipan-like 3D printed ceramic representations of 13 buildings making up a small scale city. Each building is meant to reveal a unique angle on the sexual narrative of a new Auckland.

Rose engages with architecture as a political device using her designs as a means of social commentary on the sexualised metropolis of Auckland city.

The project was inspired by research from numerous disciplines such as linguistic analysis, a survey of media representations, and spatial mapping. The title of the exhibition and the word “strip” is an intended double entendre alluding to both Auckland city and sexualised strip of Las Vegas with Raphaela Rose’s experienced travels to Vegas influencing her work.

Raphaela Rose commented: “The exhibition suggests the possibilities of employing architecture as an instrument of social and political intervention. Consequently, it proposes a speculative urbanism rather than pragmatism we have come to know in architecture. It seeks to promote a positive environment in the contested sexual politics of the city.”

The project also employs the ideas of Beatriz Colomina, an architecture historian, addressing the ways in which the unprecedented commercial transformation of Auckland’s civic centre has enabled sexuality to become an apparatus of biopolitical control.

The project reflects on a global, politically promiscuous context and through the employment of pop culture engages a wider audience of urban designers, planners, sociologists, graphic designers and psychologists to provoke the debate of ‘Is this the 21st Century city that one desires to be theirs?’