This book recovers the powerful history, politics and architecture of the Architectural Centre, Wellington, to return us to a vision of a modernist city, partially realised in Wellington New Zealand. Julia Gatley and Paul Walker begin writing the city back into the history of architecture in this country.
In 1946, just as the Group was being established in Auckland, Wellington established the Architectural Centre. Members of both were young and idealistic, and they shared common beliefs - in the transformative potential of modern architecture, in need for urban development to be carefully controlled, in the desirability of planning for a better future.
The Group survived for just over a decade while the Centre still exists, but remarkably architects remember the former but not the latter. While the Group focused on the small, refined, architecturally designed house that was to dominate the mythology of New Zealand architecture, the Centre focused on the urban living that New Zealanders actually embraced and tackled tough questions: how houses go together to make suburbs, how those people who do not belong to the archetypal nuclear family might best be housed, with how the central city and the public realm might be saved.
Auckland University Press