In the presence of a masterpiece

Every once in a while as I walk through a building that I have never visited before, I am overwhelmed by the feeling that I am in the presence of a masterpiece. This is what I sensed last weekend during a visit that was part of an architectural tour of Melbourne. Adding to the sense of wonder was the knowledge that my colleagues and I were among the first to experience a building that, when complete, is bound to grace the cover of every architectural... Read More

Icon Envy

A recent survey commissioned by UK Building/Architecture website InBuilding.org was recently profiled in The Architects Journal under the headline, ‘It’s true: people don’t know what architects do.’ People visiting The Guggenheim in Bilbao or the Shard in London are given a bit of a clue as to what architects do. Having recently returned from a visit to Sydney, I tripped over at least two real eye poppers. One being American Frank... Read More

Melbourne surprises

When I was at university in the sixties, I wrote an essay about sex in architecture. It wasn’t about bedrooms, it painted a bigger picture. My metaphor was the ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’, a biblical story in which the fertility goddess Ishtar removes an article of clothing at each of the seven gates leading to the underworld. Of course there is such a thing as architectural strip tease, and Professor Toy took my essay seriously. In real life,... Read More

Designs on cars

I was at last week’s media day at the Sydney International Motor Show, where my favoured subject of car design, strutted its stuff. As well as the ‘looks’ of a car, there are of course issues such as sustainable fuel systems, running costs, vehicle safety and affordability. All these matters relate ultimately to the success of a particular design. Read More  Read More

A tale of two cities

Last week, inspired by John Key’s ambitions, I caught up with Australia. Or to be more precise, Melbourne. It’s been said  that Auckland and Sydney are hedonist sisters, whilst Wellington and Melbourne are more the Brontes. Physically, whilst one city may one day shake itself to bits, and the other may burn to the ground, what interests me the most is the urban possibilities that younger Wellington can learn from its older sister.  (Even... Read More