This project invites you to listen to the voice of the wind, and explore the kōrero it has with the surroundings.

The 8th and most recent Brick Bay Folly winner, Te Reo o te Hau (Voice of the Kōkōhau) has been officially revealed and opened to the public in May 2023, at Brick Bay, Matakana, Auckland.

Four graduates from the School of Architecture at Victoria University of Wellington—Te Herenga Waka: William Creighton, Seth Trocio, Mathew Green, Chris Gandhi, designed and built their winning Folly while balancing employment in professional practice.

Inspired by Mangatāwhiri (the wind that sweeps across the bay of nearby Omaha), the aim of the design was to use layers of timber shingles to resemble feathers moving in the breeze. Collectively, the layers of ‘feathers’ were to resemble a kākahu (cloak), appearing to float over the structure. The team members consulted with local iwi Ngati Manuhiri, to ensure the development and realisation of the concept was conveyed correctly, and respectfully.

William Creighton explains:
“We wanted it to reflect a kākahu. As you enter, it’s like a cloak of manaaki. It’s ephemeral but also grounded in the cultural narrative of the site. Nearby Te Hauturu-o-Toi (Little Barrier) is the final resting place of the God of Winds and a cloud rests over it, almost like a crown.”

Also essential to the project was the kinetic and sound aspect, as the design was seeking to give voice to the wind. With extensive research, the building of prototypes and numerous experiments, the team members tested options to encourage the shingles to move and create sound. The Folly is delightfully successful in this goal; catching the breeze and creating the sound of a large earthly windchime.

The resulting 2023 Folly Te Reo o te Hau (Voice of the Kōkōhau) is a captivating structure, both as an architectural experimentation with sound and movement, and in a deeper, more ethereal manner, addressing the relationship between human beings and the forces of nature.

The annual Brick Bay Folly competition started in 2016, open to architecture students and recent graduates of architecture to design and build a folly at Brick Bay. Providing an opportunity for emerging architects to test their ideas on a real-life project, manage construction, solve contingencies and participate in physical construction.

The winning entry receives an overall $30,000 grant in financial sponsorship from Resene, Cassidy Construction and Brick Bay.

The project is sponsored by: Resene, Cassidy Construction, Cheshire Architects, Structure Design, Unitec, Architecture NZ/Architecture NOW and Sam Hartnett Photography.

Voice of the Kōkōhau will stay on-site at Brick Bay for up to two years. The Folly can be viewed by all visitors to Brick Bay, located just a short uphill walk from the Glass House restaurant and is a part of the sculpture trail walk, which features over 60 contemporary sculptures. Both the restaurant and sculpture trail are open 7 days a week from 10am.

Folly competition winners, from left to right: William Creighton, Chris Gandhi, Seth Trocio, Mathew Green.

Images by Samuel Hartnett.