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4 Architects 1950-1980

ISBN: 9780473173739
AUTHOR: Stephen Stratford   
PUBLISHED BY: New Zealand Architectural Publications T   November 2010
COVER: Hardcover
FORMAT: 26x26cms
PAGES: 216
LANGUAGE: English
PRICE: $69.95

Bill Alington, Jim Beard, Bill Toomath and Derek Wilson have individually and collectively created an outstanding body of work, rooted in the philosophies of modern architecture, demonstrating a humanity of thought and a mastery of materiality and detail. Their architectural education during the 1940s and early 1950s consisted of brave new ideas being explored at the School of Architecture, and then study and experience in Europe and the United States, which prepared them for their time as architects in practice in Wellington. They embraced the ideas of modernism at its height and sought to bring these qualities of good design to New Zealand architecture. They all possessed strong views about how architecture could be socially accessible, with a direct and honest approach to design; an economy of means; simple and direct planning; and a mastery of detail and materiality. In Wellington in the 1950s their work stood out against the mediocrity of the built environment of the time. Their houses demonstrated a clarity of thought, and their later projects consisted of significant public buildings: the Met Office in Kelburn, the Hannah Playhouse in the city, the Teachers’ Training College in Karori and the NIWA building in Evans Bay. They practiced separately and together, and their body of work extended from the late 1940s to the 1990s. They have maintained their friendship and collegiality, and meet regularly to discuss architecture with their own conferences. The legacy of their work is very important to Wellington architecture but also as a national influence of the time. This book features four key projects from each, complemented by vignettes of other work to provide linking projects and continuity of the work in the office. Original photographs have been used to capture the essence of the projects at the time of completion, and Simon Devitt was commissioned to photograph one project of each architect as it stands today. Essays by Paul Walker and Julia Gatley explore their work and their involvement in the Architectural Centre. A four-hour interview with the four of them together describes much of their thinking and influences, and their continuing passion for architecture.
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