Ian Athfield, Architect, 1940 – 2015


I am saddened by the passing of Sir Ian Athfield KNZM. He was a gifted New Zealand architect. He designed the Don Buck House at Te Mata Estate. I use a picture of this building as my masthead photograph.

I loved his work. I always look up at his house in Khandallah whenever I drive down the motorway towards the Hutt Valley. I have grown up with the green old Telecom building on Manners Street. The metal nikau palms on Civic Square. The Adam Art Gallery. That church on upper Willis Street with the bent column. We Wellingtonians have been lucky to have our city graced by his wonderful work.

A friend and colleague of his, Richard Harris, said in tribute, ”Ath always trod a different path. While his work was highly accomplished it was also often provocative. He exploded onto the scene with his residential work in the late sixties and early seventies, with types of residential developments that New Zealand hadn’t seen before. Both his apartments and his single houses had in common forms that were derivative of Mediterranean villages – complex in form and highly engaging, they were designed to encourage social interaction.”

I raise my glass. RIP

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