Journeys: An Interpretive Critique of the Christchurch Railway Station

By Mike Barthelmeh.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Reading and interpreting landscape in a new or different way, ‘reading against the grain’, has the potential to reveal hidden or unintentional aspects of a design. This enables a design to be reconsidered and examined without being constrained by its canonical interpretation. The third Christchurch railway station is considered as a structure embodying aspects of Shivaism, highlighting the potential for train journeys and railway stations to be considered as metaphors for spiritual journeys and milestones. Discovering symbolic components of an ancient philosophical tradition unintentionally embodied in the landscape expression of a railway station provides an opportunity to reflect on the relationship between design intent and design interpretation, and on our own journeys through life.

Keywords: Interpretive Critique, Journeys, Reading Against the Grain, Symbolism

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.37-54. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 21.619MB).

Assoc. Prof. Mike Barthelmeh

Senior Lecturer, School of Landscape Architecture, Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand

Mike Barthelmeh is a Senior Lecturer and Academic Programme Manager at Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. His research interests are eclectic, but have a focus on the professional practice of landscape architecture in New Zealand. Recent work includes drafting the Aotearoa-New Zealand Landscape Charter for the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (NZILA), investigating factors that influence student choice of landscape architecture as a career, and critique of built works. Mike is a Fellow of the NZILA, and has served for a number of years on the Institute’s national executive committee.