Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

60 of the best designer homes from NZ's top architects

Big House, Small House by John Walsh and Patrick Reynolds. Photo / Chris Gorman
Big House, Small House by John Walsh and Patrick Reynolds. Photo / Chris Gorman

Sixty of the country's top architect-urally designed houses feature in Random House's 431-page Big House, Small House, New Homes by New Zealand Architects by author John Walsh and photographer Patrick Reynolds.

The $80 hardback, out on November 2 and supported by the New Zealand Architectural Publications Trust, examines work by 60 architects in the past five years, from big new houses to small additions on sites from Northland to Dunedin.

Walsh and Reynolds produced the much-celebrated book New New Zealand Houses (Godwit), published in 2007 and Walsh noted how times had changed in the last few years and how that was reflected in the nature and scope of work in both books.

"The boom of the young century didn't last, as architects with experience of earlier busts might have predicted. New New Zealand Houses, it turned out, was published at an economic high-water mark and as the tide went out, it left many residential projects high and dry and many architecture practices gasping for air.

"All of a sudden the bread and butter work of small practices - house alterations and additions - seemed quite a treat.

"Times like the present reveal the relative vulnerability of architecture as a profession, especially if it is pursued in the residential sector," Walsh writes his introduction to the new book.

"We wanted Big House, Small House to reflect the architectural response to changed conditions," said Walsh, for a decade editor of Architecture New Zealand and other magazines.

"Clients are still asking architects to design substantial houses but there are many people who are staying put and asking for comparatively modest alterations to their existing homes."

Walsh described some of the sites he wrote about as "truly extraordinary" and said it was a privilege to write about and photograph Ohinetahi, Sir Miles Warren's home at Governor's Bay outside Christchurch.

"No sooner had Sir Miles started rebuilding the 19th century house after the 2010 Canterbury earthquake than it collapsed in the 2011 earthquake. But he just picked himself up and started again."

Jennifer Balle of Random House said her firm was proud of the book. "John and Patrick are such a special team and that shines through."

- NZ Herald

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