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The Vitruvian Tunnel responds to the drawing of the Vitruvian Man by the Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci circa 1490.

The drawing depicts a man in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and inscribed in a circle and square. The drawing is based on the correlations of ideal human body proportions with geometry described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius. In Book III of his treatise De architectura Vitruvius described the human figure as being the principal source of proportion among the classical orders of architecture. Vitruvius determined that the ideal body should be eight heads high. Leonardo's drawing is traditionally named in honour of the architect. This contemporary artwork is in honour of Leonardo da Vinci.

The Vitruvian Tunnel takes the circle and square and encompasses both of those shapes in an equilateral triangle. The equilateral triangle is extended to become a square tunnel, and visa versa, the square roof is extended vertically into a rectangle to the match the height of the triangle. The square dimension is based on the average height of a New Zealand male, 1.77m, with all other geometries in proportion to that dimension.

The Virtuvian Tunnel continues a conversation about the world's architectural history, making a debut at Bright Nights 2019 to encourage this dialogue publicly at Auckland’s waterfront.


Matt Liggins Studio is a multi disciplinary office specialising in architectural projects, installations and artworks. At its helm is Matt Liggins, an artist, architectural practitioner and lecturer at Auckland University Architecture School.

Matt Liggins has participated in exhibitions in New Zealand and Australia, and is a regular contributor to Auckland Artweek with previous installations 'The Real Pyramid Schemer' in 2016 and 'The House of 9,783 plastic bags / House for homeless' in 2018.