Athfield Architects book cover Athfield Architects book cover CREDIT: University of Auckland

Iconic architect profiled

Thursday 14 June 2012, 2:02PM
By University of Auckland

A new book on the work of Athfield Architects reveals how contemporary architecture can transform the way we live.

Written by Julia Gatley from the School of Architecture and Planning at The University of Auckland, Athfield Architects traces four decades of the celebrated firm’s history.

Over many years, Ian Athfield and his team have reshaped New Zealand architecture - from the Buck House at Te Mata Estate to Wellington’s Civic Square, from Jade Stadium to Athfield’s own sprawling settlement on the Khandallah hills.

The book leads readers through modernism, postmodernism and beyond. Its four-part structure traces Athfield’s formative years; the fledgling firm and its radical 1960s and ’70s houses; its important break into commercial work; and finally its impact in the public, urban and institutional realms.

Today, Athfield Architects continue to present architectural forms that respond proactively to the pressing challenges of our time: the need for sustainable design, quality housing, public spaces that reflect the community, and collaborative practice. Athfield’s voice continues to be at the centre of architectural dialogue around the country, most recently as part of Christchurch rebuild discussions.

Athfield Architects combines newly commissioned photography, evocative original architectural drawings and a rich text informed by extensive archival research and interviews with key figures in the firm.

Julia Gatley is a Senior Lecturer in Architecture sprecialising in architectural history and design. Her previous books include the critically acclaimed Long Live the Modern: New Zealand’s New Architecture, 1904-1984 (AUP, 2008) and Group Architects: Towards a New Zealand Architecture (AUP, 2010).

Published by University of Auckland press, Athfield Architects will be launched on 23 June at the City Gallery in Wellington. This major publication will be released to coincide with an exhibition there curated by Gatley called Athfield Architects: People and Place. The exhibtion runs from 22 June until 7 October.