Rafik Patel

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Lecturer - Spatial Design

Phone: +64 9 921 9999 # 8073

Email: rafik.patel@aut.ac.nz

Postal Address:
School of Art and Design (Spatial)
Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies
AUT University
Private Bag 92006
Auckland 1142
New Zealand


  • Master of Architecture, The University of Auckland, 2005
  • Bachelor of Architecture, Unitec: Institute of Technology, 2002
  • National Diploma of Architectural Technology, Unitec: Institute of Technology, 2002

Memberships and Affiliations:

  • Project Anywhere - A global peer-reviewed space for art and research.
  • The International Journal of the Constructed Environment.
  • The University of Auckland, School of Architecture and Planning, (BAS & MArch-Prof).
  • The School of Architecture, Victoria University of Wellington (MArch-Prof)
  • ST PAUL St Gallery, AUT.
  • INTERSTICES: Journal of Architecture and Related Arts.
  • DINZ
  • Pacific Spaces


My experience includes:
  • Lecturer, Spatial Design School of Art & Design AUT University.
  • Programme Leader Spatial Design School of Art & Design AUT University.
  • Programme Coordinator Certificate of Interior and Spatial Design School of Art & Design AUT University.

Teaching Areas:

  • Bachelor of Design (Spatial)
  • Master of Design

Research Areas:

  • Architecture
  • Spatial Design
  • Drawing
  • Cultural Studies
  • Ethnography
  • Photography
  • Scenography

Research Summary:

My research examines public spaces and how they are politically charged when revolutions such as the Arab Spring of 2011 gave rise to occupation of public squares. Concurrently I have also been exploring the work of architect Lebbeus Woods, in particular to how his drawings are a mode of political activism expressing the nature of polemical situations around the world. My research also asks how does a spatial exposition of memory (photographs, oral stories, and family archives) depict and re-imagine the spaces of culture.


Current Research Projects:

Currently Rafik is pursuing a Doctorate Degree that examines the Gujarati Indian-Islamic diaspora in Auckland and Tauranga as a spatial and heteroglossic phenomenon made up of encounters in foreign places and the longing for the distant homeland. It proposes that a new generation of Indian/New Zealander experience of this history, is tied to the desire to reimagine this history of journey and encounter in new ways. This research, suggests the photographic album acts as a site for ethnography and suggests an archive that diagrams the movement patterns of spatial stories of cultural, social, and historical transformations.

‘Drawing out’ questions on the subject of family histories explore the dimensions of poetic narration. As well, drawing-work is significant in that it begins to map out an Gujaratri Indian-Islamic diaspora that is yet to be done. A method of ethnographic analysis is being carried out to describe the patterns and structural order of this specific culture. A creative work consisting of drawings, models, and photographs is being made that develops an architecture as a ‘space of memories’ and cultural text.


Selected Publications and Presentations:

Patel, R. (2018), Horizon of Being, in Proceedings of the 1st Annual Design Research Conference (ADR18), The University of Sydney.

Patel, R. (2018). Conflict, Speech, and Truth within the Urban Space of Tahrir Square, in The Urban Transcript Journal(winter), London.

Patel, R. (2017). A Flowing Culture: Images of Early Gujarati Indian-Islamic Migrants in Aotearoa New Zealand. Transitions: Journal of Transient Migration, United Kingdom: Intellect.

Patel, R (2017). Navigating Culture: Spatial Exposition of Early Gujarati Indian-Islamic Migrants in Aoteoroa New Zealand. ADELAIDE CONGRESS/SAHANZ 2nd PHD International Symposium, 4 July 2017.

Patel, R. (2015). Oceans of Stories. Race Mobility and Imperial Networks: Charting the Transnational Asia-Pacific World, 1800-2015 Conference, RMIT University, Melbourne 10 Nov 2015.

Patel, R. (2012). The Enlightenment of a Contestable Space. Space and Place Conference, Mansfield College Oxford, U.K Sep 2012 04 Sep 2012.

Patel, R. (2011). An Opening of Tanwir. Interstices 12 Unsettled Containers: Aspects of Interiority, Auckland: Enigma.

Patel, R. (2011). Transformation at the Frontier: An Opening of Tahrir Square. Spaces and Flows Conference, Monash University Prato Centre, Prato, Italy 17-18 Nov 2011.

Co-convener of the The Open Hand Symposium: A Call for Civic Debate. AUT and St Paul St Galley December 29-30, 2014

Presentation of Martin Holbraad (2012), Preface to the book- Truth in Motion: The recursive anthropology of Cuban divination (pp. xi-xix). Ontological Turns and Openings: Recent reorientations in theory and methodology, conducted by: Amiria Salmond, AUT Pacific Spaces Reading Group, 05 Dec 2014

Presentation of Tony Crook (2007), “Methodology after the event” (Ch. in Exchanging Skin: Anthropological Knowledge, Secrecy and Bolivia, Papua New Guinea, Oxford: OUP. Difference, Differently, conducted by: Amiria Salmond, AUT Pacific Spaces Reading Group, 29 Jul 2016.

Spatial in the City exhibition, New Zealand Institute of Architects Exhibition Week, Sir Paul Reeves Building, AUT University, Sep 2014 and Sep 2015.


  • The Green House, Gold Award, Designers Institute of New Zealand, Best Design Awards, Spatial: Residential, 2017.
  • The Green House, Gold Award, Designers Institute of New Zealand, Best Design Awards, Spatial: Colour, 2017.