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

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

On Screen Architecture

This is a shout out for the Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival 2016. I suggest that you grab a copy of the excellent programmes and go see something that interests you. Miss M and I have been to three so far. First up, and the highlight thus far, was Strange & Familiar: Architecture on Fogo Island. Born on the remote Newfoundland island, Zita Cobb left for university at a time when multinationals had all but decimated the local fishing... Read More

RIP Zaha Hadid

Just last month I watched a film about the life and work of Zaha Hadid. The worlds most famous female architect was eloquent and compelling as she explained her creative process. She looked so well and healthy. I have come to expect great architects have longevity. Oscar Neimeyer went at 104, Frank Lloyd Wright at 92, and Philip Johnson at 98. I.M.Pei is still alive at 98, and Frank Gehry is 89 not out. Zaha’s death last week at 65 is quite wrong... Read More

Bending Beauties

Ugly low buildings to a degree can merge with their surroundings, but ugly tall ones have nowhere to hide. Some years ago, when I was staying with an architect friend in Glasgow, I was invited to a planning meeting with the developer, his consultants, and the council to discuss a high rise proposal in that city.  The Glasgow District Plan has no height limits because it wants to control the design and appearance of buildings by means other than the... Read More


Another warm, humorous and imaginative Japanese architect popped up in our soup last night. Takaharu Tezuka began a talk at the University by speaking of the importance of family. ‘I dress always in blue, my wife in red, and our daughter in yellow’ he explained. He said architects should be happy in order to make other people’s lives happy. Apparently Takaharu and his wife Yui’s career began with clients who regularly climbed out their window... Read More

Roger Walker design features in international Architecture Atlas

The Britten House (1974) designed by Roger Walker features in a new international publication on 20th Century World Architecture.  It is one of six New Zealand buildings to feature in the book recently published by Phaidon to showcase over 750 of the most outstanding works of architecture built between 1900 and 1999. ‘Everyone likes to argue over best-of lists. But the admirable quality of Phaidon’s hefty new offering… boxes in... Read More

RIP Oscar Niemeyer

One of the most enjoyable and informative architect documentaries I’ve ever seen is Fabiano Maciel’s A Vida e um Sopro. The seated interview with Oscar Niemeyer, interspersed with images of his life’s work, is a format that allowed Brasil’s most famous architect to rove freely on his philosophies of life and architecture. We thought that Philip Morris must have funded the film, as here was a fit 99-year-old chomping on a cigar all the... Read More

The Ugly Truth

Two modern buildings in Melbourne, both of which I have visited and admired, have been named by recent surveys as among the world’s ugliest. Great emotion can be generated by the appearance of buildings. Reference Prince Charles for instance. He turned up as a royal person at the Royal institute of Architects conference in London a few years ago. He opined that ‘when Hitler bombed London, he had the decency to leave just piles of rubble. ... Read More

Conference inspires

Following the successful and enjoyable 2011 conference at Auckland’s Sky City, I was full of anticipation about this year’s conference. But it got off to a good start simply by being held in Gordon Moller’s recently completed ripply-roofed , sparkly glass jewel box Viaduct Events Centre. Moller has finally shed Wellington’s Queens Wharf Events centre shedness. After the disasters in Christchurch, last year’s theme was about architects and... Read More