Rog on Beauty

Rog on Beauty is the personal blog of Roger Walker - architect, designer, traveller, car man, magazine reader, and raconteur. He started this blog as a cheaper alternative to holding court at various drinking establishments around the town to tell stories and share his opinion on the beauty of architecture, planning, design, cars, travel and anything else that takes his fancy.

The Pertinence of Park Mews

I was sitting in my office one day minding my own business when the phone rang.

The caller introduced himself as comedian Billy Connolly’s New Zealand agent.

“Billy wants to meet you,” he said.

Apparently on the way in from the airport, he’d passed Park Mews in Hataitai and stated: “The architect clearly possesses a sense of humour.”

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RIP David Mitchell

New Zealand architecture has lost a treasure this week with the death of David Mitchell.

 

 

There will be much written about David by people much closer to him than I, but I would like to talk about his personal influence on me.

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Downsizing

In the 1940’s my parents built a classic brick and tile on ¼ acre in Hamilton suburbia and lived there for the rest of their lives. It was a nuclear family home of its time.

After us kids left home, three of the four bedrooms remained empty. The land remained, with its maintenance intensive lawn, and was never subdivided.

For the last fifty years or so in developed countries, it has been a demonstrable measure of success to own a large site upon which sits a large house. The house was a statement of social stratification as well as a place to live.

Nowadays we are much more likely to tailor our houses to fit our practical needs, rather than display affluence. This has inevitably led to better designed homes with footprints compatible with more affordable smaller sites. The ‘baby boomer’ generation of nuclear families has now splintered into many differing social groupings, and housing needs to reflect the current diversity. Read More

The Art of the Collective Noun

Miss M and I are avid television quiz watchers. We pitch ourselves against the television contestants, with quiet competition between the two of us. She shines on the arts and literature subjects. I have distinct superiority when it comes to cars, building, and science.

We’re both not too bad on geography and rubbish on contemporary pop culture.

If the ITV were to suddenly ring me up and ask me to audition to become a Chaser, there’s a few standard things I would try to bone up on – the name of every country’s capital and the colours on their flags; the size of the planets and what their moons are called; everything about the periodic table; and the mysterious collection of words called Collective Nouns.

Question: The collective nouns for crows is:

A:  A sord
B:  A convocation
C:  A murder

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The Leadfoot Festival

I recently attended New Zealand’s best kept car culture secret.

    

Barely publicised, this amazing event is held over two days in early February, at Rod and Shelly Millen’s immaculate ‘ranch’ at Hahei in the glorious Coromandel, a piece of paradise which they purchased 9 years ago.

It’s 150 acres of parkland and woods without any animal inhabitants.

Inspired by the legendary Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK, the Millens have built a 4.0m sealed driveway from their front gate up to their house, some 200 metres higher and 1.6 km further away, Read More