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10 Stories: writing about architecture 4 published

14 March 2019

Entrants in the 2018 Warren Trust Awards for Architectural Writing were asked: ‘What’s the best building you’ve been to?’ This book presents 10 of the answers, which are wide-ranging and often very personal.

For one writer, inspiration came from a marae near Lyttelton; for another, a settler house in Northland. Other writers were moved, variously, by a modernist church in Hawke’s Bay, a sports centre in Wellington, Frank Gehry’s concert hall in Los Angeles, and, most grandly, the Parthenon in Athens.

A water tower in Whanganui was an important part in one writer’s childhood, and a self- built mudbrick hut is, for another writer, as much manifesto as shelter. Another house lives only in the mind of a writer, where it is pieced together from the memories of spaces experienced and elements touched. Finally, one essay dares to tread into voyeuristic territory: the modern world of Airbnb travel, in which short-term occupancy of a stranger’s place is a stimulus to curiosity and speculation.

The 2018 iteration of the competition was won by Whangārei-based architecture graduate Jade Kake (Ngāpuhi, Te Arawa, Whakatōhea; pictured left at her marae, Pehiāweri, near Whangarei).

Jade, who works with Māori organisations on marae, papakāinga and civic projects, submitted an essay titled Rāpaki Marae, which describes in excellent detail the architectural and emotional experiences of visiting the new marae buildings at Rāpaki, near Lyttelton, along with comparisons to “our cold, south facing whare at home”.

The competition’s Secondary School category was won by Brian Park, a grade 11 student in Seoul International School. Highly commended awards were won by Craig Martin, a Nelson teacher, writer and photographer; Michael Davis, a Wellington architect; and Jillian Sullivan, a writer and teacher who lives in the Central Otago village of Oturehua. The competition was judged by Massey University Press publisher Nicola Legat, Christchurch architect Richard McGowan, and New Zealand Institute of Architects Communications Director John Walsh.

10 Stories: Writing About Architecture / 4 can be purchased for $15 in the NZIA shop, here.