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.” Read More  Read More

The world’s largest construction site

I have recently returned from the world’s largest construction site. Tower cranes and trucks everywhere. 30 years ago Dubai started as a poor fishing village at the mouth of natural waterway called Dubai Creek. Then ‘liquid gold’ was discovered. Read More  Read More

AUCKLAND SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE CENTENNIAL WEEKEND

First up, allow me some nostalgia. Several years ago a group of us graduates from the Auckland School of Architecture elected to conduct a regular lunch event to celebrate the life of one of our Wellington colleagues, Brian Hope, who had died suddenly. This tradition has continued 2-3 times a year ever since, depending on co-ordination with our complex and overlapping lives. Sadly, three more of the Wellington contingent, Sir Ian Athfield, Keith Wilson... Read More

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

An architectural review of the film festival

I missed the Architecture and Design Film Festival this year ‘cause I was doing some architectural photography of a different variety. So I eagerly sniffed out any architectural offerings in this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival. Life is too short to watch self-indulgent and depressing drama, so my programme was biased towards interesting and (hopefully) uplifting documentaries in which architecture was either explicit or inferred.... Read More

Five Franks and a Phillip

I recently returned from mini sabbatical to the big USA. Naturally pilgrimages to iconic architectural houses were in order. I visited three Frank Lloyd Wrights and a Phillip Johnson, each open to the public and with highly informative guided tours. Top of the list was Wright’s iconic Fallingwater – well worth the four plus hour drive from Washington to its Pennsylvania location. It’s promoted as ‘Architecture as Experience’ and since it... Read More

Enduring Again

In addition to the Flint House, Roger Walker’s 1969 Stroud House also won an Enduring Architecture Award recently, this time in the NZIA Wellington Region Local Architecture Awards.   Judges commented; “This house has worn extremely well. It remains a wonderful insight into a more gentle and optimistic time. The tiny but nurturing scale is extraordinary and the ordinary materials are reassuring. The complex spaces and labyrinthine... Read More

Enduring Award

Roger Walker’s 1969 Flint House recently won an Enduring Architecture Award in the NZIA Auckland Region Local Architecture Awards.     Judges commented, “This perfectly maintained example of a house from a classic period of New Zealand architecture is a reminder of how fresh, playful and essentially novel Roger Walker’s work was — and still is. In a series of individually-articulated volumes set in a grove of kauri trees,... Read More

Island Time

My memories of Waiheke island was that at the end of a ferry ride, I arrived at an escape from Auckland suburbia into a rumpled and lushly covered landscape dotted with kiwi baches. A paradise for alternative Aucklanders wanting to escape the city. Now it has been discovered by the wealthy. Its holiday character has changed fundamentally because its desirability has led to great pressure on its limited land area. It is now effectively an elite suburb,... Read More

IN SITU CONFERENCE 2015

  Just as my cellphone needs regular recharging, my creative juices need replenishing. Every two years our Institute arranges presentations for us, from an array of local and international architects. They inspire, entertain, agitate and impassion us. Between the 10th and 13th of February last, this event happened at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland and it was brilliant. It’s great to learn how different cultures respond to design issues... Read More