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. Read More  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... Read More


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

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

ATH 1940-2015

Ath was adopted. His birth parents were 17 years old, so maybe that it why his mind remained perpetually young and inquiring. In November last year, a few of us architects of a certain age had our regular lunch in Wellington. At 12.30 Ath said he had to leave, in order to catch a flight to Dunedin at 2.30. ‘Thats fine’, we said, ‘you’ve plenty of time.’ Ath replied that he just had to pop into the hospital on the way to the airport,... Read More

Hero House

While the Bay of Plenty recently I got the opportunity to indulge my interest in sustainable design with a visit Te Uru Taumatua, the new Tuhoe headquarters in Taneatua. I was fortunate in that both Tamati Kruger the chair of the Tuhoe Trust, and Kirsten Luke, its CEO, were on hand. They gave me an enlightening and inspiring tour of their pride and joy. Read More  Read More

Heritage Houses in the Hutt

I took a short break this week in the middle of some design deadlines to visit to a John Scott 1970s’ gem, still owned by the friends of John who commissioned it. (Thanks to Lower Hutt architect Bruce Sedcole for organising the visit). I’m both a professional and personal fan of John and his work, and deeply admire his contribution to Māori architecture and defining bi-cultural architecture in 20th century New Zealand. Read More  Read More

RIP Peter Beaven

Let me add to the many tributes paid to a dear colleague and mentor Peter Beaven who passed away this week.  The architectural tributes are understandably glowing. My thinking is that while his lungs eventually gave in, I know his heart would have been as big and passionate as ever. That heart gave me such inspiration in dealing with the academic constraints at the Auckland School of Architecture in the late sixties. His influence on my own modest... Read More