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Ian Athfield - Architect, and Innovation in 1970s NZ

Ian Athfield - Architect, and Innovation in 1970s NZ

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  • Wed 11 Mar ’15, 6:00pm – 7:30pm


AUT City Campus, 55 Wellesley Street East, Auckland CBD


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission


Official Website

** Screening in Room WG126, Level 1, Sir Paul Reeves Building. **

Join us, AUT and Colab for a screening of a selection of short archival films from the Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collection presenting varied glimpses of New Zealand life, and in particular our architectural endeavours, during the 1970s.

The 1970s are known as a time of experimentation, racial and sexual politics, and concerns about the environment. We experienced two oil shocks (1973 and 1979), car-less days (1979), and the introduction of colour television (1973). William Sutch (well-known patron of Ernst Plischke's accomplished Sutch House in Wellington) was charged under the Official Secrets Act (1951) on suspicion of passing state secrets to the Soviet Union in 1974. The decade concluded with the grizzly images of the Erebus disaster.

The evening’s screening will feature excerpts from "Architect Athfield" (1977), a documentary directed by Sam Neill on the innovative and quirky architect Ian Athfield. The renowned Wellington-based architect died earlier this summer, on January 16, at age 74. Known for challenging conventions and council regulations, Athfield was "an imaginative architect critical of orthodox Kiwi design and planning [...], a provocateur whose work provokes aggressive reactions [...], a thinker whose Third World housing project encompasses a whole range of social and economic considerations way beyond the aesthetics of design." — Russell Campbell

A few other programme highlights include: "Expo 70" (1970), showcasing a model for a "Geyser Room Restaurant" amongst New Zealand’s contributions to the architectural exposition in Osaka, Japan; "The Beehive Concept and Function" (1978), showing the opening of parliament by Queen Elizabeth II, Muldoon and guests; "Notes on a New Zealand City" (1971), which explores ways our urban environment could be made more liveable; "Motorway" (1972), a lyrical experimental film documenting the construction of the Wellington motorway; and "The Draper Residence on Paritai Drive in Auckland" (1971), a tour of a private residence showing interior decoration trends of the time including padded purple drawers and golden dolphin taps.

The programme is also liberally scattered with classic television commercials that will get you into the spirit of the era.

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