In this Ockham Lecture, Albert L Refiti will share his understanding of the prehistory of Pacific architecture within Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa and Oceania and then the recent history of this architecture in Aotearoa New Zealand and in the Pacific.

He will discuss the main elements at the core of Pacific architecture and how and why traditional forms have persisted and re-emerged in recent times.

This research leads into an exhibition, curated by Refiti, that will open at Objectspace in December. The exhibition will consider architect and academic Mike Austin’s slide archive, exploring Pacific architecture through Austin's travel around the Moana spanning thirty years.

A student of Dr Mike Austin at University of Auckland, Albert L Refiti graduated in architecture in 1990 and has worked on designs for the cultural sector in Tāmaki Makaurau and London; he was part of the design team for the Auckland Museum refurbishment in 1994/1995 and has been an expert consultant to the museum on design for Pacific material culture since 1999. He specialises in the study of Pacific material culture and architectural environment with extensive research and publication in the area. Albert has lectured in design, and the history of art and architecture and related fields at the University of Auckland School of Architecture, Unitec School of Architecture and Manukau School of Visual Arts and is Associate Professor of Art and Design at Auckland University of Technology. He and Rau Hoskins are co-principal investigators of the Marsden funded Artefacts of Relations: building in the Pacific (2022-2025) research. Albert was Andrew W Mellon Senior Scholar at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts in New York (2019/2020), where he researched the design developments for the new galleries of the Rockefeller wing in the department of Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. He leads the Vā Moana Research Cluster at Auckland University of Technology.

This lecture is presented as part of Te Kāhui Whaihanga Auckland Branch 2022 Architecture Week.

The Ockham Lecture series is an annual programme of lectures and panel discussions across different themes that critically engage with craft, design and architecture. This programme is supported by Objectspace's Lead Partner Ockham Residential.

Samoa Faletele guest house, photograph by Mike Austin

Portrait of Albert L Refiti

Latmul, Papua New Guinea carved finial of a ceremonial house, ngeko, photograph by Mike Austin