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18th November 2023
Brightside AUT

How to [detect] a Darchive

How to [detect] a Darchive

pre:fab conference 2023 will explore the concept of the Darchive

the dark matter* of architectural practice: the undeclared, undiscussed, unacknowledged, uninspected, or otherwise hidden people, objects, spaces, events, and ideas that have had an enduring effect on our individual or collective imagination, and through that, our creative practices and built environment. The things that make alternative practice alternative.


The conference will be free, open to anyone, and attempt to reveal the Darchive through a combination of quickfire presentations, participatory workshops, and shared conversation over a potluck lunch. We also call for contributions to the Darchive; we invite anyone interested to share a physical representation and written description of their own ‘architectural dark matter’.

* Architectural Dark Matter: that parallel universe of unofficial, off-narrative, ineffable, banal, idiosyncratic, subjective, irrational, nonsensical and/or otherwise private, personal, secret, hidden, concealed, unacceptable, inglorious etc. material that ultimately determines the qualities, discourse, outcomes, qualia, and aggregate effects of individual and collective creative practice—our actions and interactions—yet somehow remains outside of it… Unobserved, Undiscussed, Undocumented, Underneath, AND all around us…


Register to Attend

Register here to attend pre:fab Conference 2023: [Detecting] The Darchive.


Join us for the conference on the 18th of November, between 9:30am and 4:30pm, at Brightside AUT, 31-33 Symonds Street.


help build our collective Darchive. Bring a plate.† Registered Architects attending this event will be eligible for up to 60 CPD points.

† pre:fab is all about sharing - knowledge, resources, ideas, and food! We will supply plates, cutlery, tea, coffee and water, and some plant-based basics for lunch. We ask that attendees bring a contribution to this shared meal.


Submit to the Darchive

Submit an idea for a darkefact to be included as a contributor to the Darchive. Please submit your darkefact proposal and 300 word text through the Google Form to be included in the Darchive.


Commitment of your submission is required by the 4th of November

We invite anyone interested to share a physical representation and written description of their own ‘architectural dark matter’ [no larger than A3 cubed + 300 words]. Examples of individual contributions to the Darchive could include:

  • Objects, spaces, events, stories, relationships, or responsibilities etc. that have had a profound influence on your worldview and how you approach architecture; secret, deeply personal, or otherwise unseen.

  • Your own undisclosed recipes, rituals, processes, or techniques that support your creative practices and how you understand and/or theorise them.

  • Someone else’s existing practice that has an ongoing effect on your understanding of architecture in Aotearoa now.

  • An experience or insight gained from someone else’s practice in the past that has had an enduring effect on your own practice and/or architecture/the built environment in Aotearoa generally.

  • Something else…


We call for sincere, idiosyncratic, subjective, and diverse darkefacts, and encourage contributors to focus on expressing the effect their chosen dark matter has had on them with others. Please submit your darkefact proposal here.



pre:fab Conference 2023 is free to attend for everyone.

We ask that attendees bring a plate of food or other contribution for a pot luck lunch.



230921 Programme.png

Photos of people and objects will be taken at this event. Efforts will be made to ensure out-of-shot zones if you don't wish to be photographed. Photographs and other outputs will be published online and may be used in research projects. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please reach out at

These events are related to The Night School (TNS), a practice-based doctoral research project at the Auckland University of Technology’s Huri te Ao - School of Future Environments. Because reflections on this event, photographs, and other recording tools used at this event may be included in the research and its outputs, attendees will need to read and sign an information sheet providing their voluntary consent, accessible here: Information for participants - The Night School (TNS). All events will adhere to the AUT ethical guidelines of partnership, protection and participation.

pre:fab conference 2023

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