Urban Designer - Vernacular Architect - Maritime Planner - Owner-Builder - Servant of Piglet - Educator - Author - Revolutionary - Peacenik - Tour Guide 

Tony Watkins

 ~ Vernacular Design 

So what's new in Tour Guide? Print E-mail

ImageTourism is a trap. You end up seeing what someone else thinks you ought to see. Tourists tick boxes when they might instead discover new worlds which they never imagined could exist. When people ask about places or people I have begun sharing my thoughts through my web page. There is no logic. If you are going to Edmonton then I suggest a side trip to the Icefield Parkway. If you are going to Italy it is well worth looking up some of the work of Carlo Scarpa. If you are in the Alpes Maritime region then make a quick side trip to Colletta del Castelbianco. When in Vienna do not miss MAK. In Berlin the 100 bus is ideal for exploring and orientation. It would be easy to miss Gehry’s bank.


So what's new in Credit Manager? Print E-mail

Image2008 saw the passing of Barry Barclay, Walter Pollard, Hone Tuwhare, Ed Hillary and Joe Polaischer. We will not see the likes of them again.


So what's new in Family Archivist? Print E-mail

ImageBeyond the Landing”, published in 2008 to celebrate a hundred years since the founding of the Morrinsville Town Board, included an autobiography of Frank Marshall.

Check it out at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/347/390/


So what's new in Te Rarawa Iwi? Print E-mail

ImageThere is always something to learn at Pasifika, the largest Polynesian Festival in the South Pacific.

In 2008 one of the Umus was put down on top of corrugated iron and it was highly successful.

You unfortunately cannot enjoy the food, but a photograph is at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/342/291/


So what's new in Servant of Piglet? Print E-mail

ImageA selection of Karaka Bay photographs can be found at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/365/226/

A selection of Sunday Star Times photographs can be found at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/366/226/


So what's new in Karaka Bay lover? Print E-mail

Image2010 was dominated by the corrupt Auckland City Council carrying out illegal works to destroy the beach frontage and leave behind a tangle of wire and imported rock which had nothing to do with this sacred space. Murray may have known a lot about death but he knew nothing about life and he took control to exclude the coastal experts through ensuring that the necessary permits were not obtained. Doug was voted off the Council, but it was too late to save the beach. Rae cashed in and sold up. A sorry saga. Lots of material to scroll through, but only to despair at the stupidity of people when confronted with environmental questions. Look elsewhere for hope.




ImageOn a more cheerful note there was a slightly terrifying moment when I thought we might have ended up with 150 party-goers stranded on Motukorea. Richard stayed on for an extra hour and shuttled everyone back to the food and wine.

Photographs of Decade-dent Adventures 2008 can be found at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/335/109/

A selection of Auckland City Library photographs from the thirties, when Riddell Road ran through farmland, can be found at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/399/109/

Superb aerial photographs  of Karaka Bay and the surrounding area in 1938 and 1946 can be found at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/573/109/ Colin Percy kindly provided the originals.

Those with power, like Lady Macbeth, become victims of their own paranoia. Those who should have nothing to fear are overwhelmed by their own fear, and they lash out at the innocent. Raping the natural environment becomes nothing more than a desperate attempt to achieve the pleasure which escapes them. The rapists of Karaka Bay gathered together for a field day. Some of the sad story is at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/553/109/

So what's new in Bush Lawyer? Print E-mail

ImageThe Herald ran an article on the Undeclared Interest of two of the three members of the ACC panel appointed to revise the dog bylaw.

You will find it at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/396/276/


So what's new in Art Connoisseur? Print E-mail

ImageThe sculpture of Lindsay Evans exhibited at Village Arts in March 2008 were very architectural.

If you have some empty architecture check them out at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/354/129/

The 2008 Coromandel Group exhibition at Hauraki House offered a feast of wonderful pottery.

There are a few images at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/346/129/  


Village Arts, Kohukohu, has gone from stregth to strength, with a wonderful succession of superb exhibitions. One of the highlights of 2009 was "Hotere Country". Find out more about it at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/497/129/ 

So what's new in Noncombatant Sport? Print E-mail

ImageThe beauty of classic yachts has never been equalled. Sailing on the Rona takes any crew back to 1892.

Catch a glimpse at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/307/117/


So what's new in Compulsive Traveller? Print E-mail

ImageOne alternative to the Rehab Ward after my stroke was to set out on a 6000km adventure driving around the South Island.

You will find lots of photographs from “Call it Southern Rehab” at  www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/331/92/

Just ignore the text.

Image In September 2011 I went up to Japan for UIA Tokyo 2011. You will find lots of photographs along with my personal diary at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/588/92/ 


So what's new in Storyteller? Print E-mail

ImageWith the Planning Department having been destroyed just before its Golden Jubilee there is poignancy in old photographs of the Silver Jubilee. Some are at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/391/83/

It is hard now to imagine that “restructuring” was a new idea for architects at the 1967 NZIA Conference in Queenstown. If you want to know who some of those architects were in that innocent age look at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/383/74/

Nostagia too in memories of the Leyland O’Brien timber mill at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/378/74/

Leyland O’Brien was famous for its scows. A photograph at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/379/84/ 

So what's new in Peaceful Revolutionary? Print E-mail

ImageIt is always interesting to discover what threatens people.

A very innocent posting on the Arch-Peace web site on “slow architecture” brought a vitriolic response. I retaliated and regretted not having better photographs of some of my own “slow architecture”, which was of course very fast. The story is at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/

I will slowly write up the history of Arc-Peace. A couple of photographs from meetings long ago, in Istanbul 1996 can now be found at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/389/73/

Recent events have brought back into the highlight the secret testing of nuclear weapons on human subjects in Turkestan by the Chinese, You will find a glimpse into the courageous people who dared to speak out at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/395/194/


Recently I discovered an article of mine, published in Sweden, available as an e-book. It gives a brief history of Arc-Peace Aotearoa, Look at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/551/73/



So what's new in Environmental Conservationist? Print E-mail

ImageTelling it the way it is may not be a pathway to success.

However, as I observed thirty years ago - “If you only say the things people want to hear, you will not say the things which need to be said.”

Judge for yourself the market potential of the ideas at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/244/72/

Now that the term “green” has lost traction we might do better to talk about “Environmentally Responsible Architecture”.


You will find a few photographs of "Arakainga" the house I am building in the Hokianga at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/178/72/

If you have no idea about the Hokianga topography there are a few photographs of the harbour at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/530/72/

The house site is an hours walk from the nearest road. In the summer when the ground is dry it is possible to get part of the way in a Landrover. For the Landrover story and a few photographs of "Grunt" look at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/264/72/ Making one trip each year Grunt has carried tons of materials up from Auckland to the Hokianga, and done endless trips from Te Ohu to Kaikohe. 


So what's new in Political Activist? Print E-mail

ImageIn January 2010 I had a hip replacement. The public health system was wonderful and I cannot give enough praise to all the wonderful staff. You will find a few thoughts about my experience at www.tony-watkins/content/view/538/71/

The Queens Wharf shed debate continued through 2010, and there seemed to be a swing towards saving them after the AAA launched a campaign. Some of my thoughts are at No ordinary shed www.tony-watkins/content/view/545/71/

The Building Act came under review once again in 2010. It was predictable that none of the real issues would be addressed. I ended up talking to a group of mostly theologians about Embodied love. www.tony-wtkins/content/view/547/71/ 

The wonderful Rawene Book Festival in May 2010 introduced me to Phantom Billstickers. To find out how poetry can be subversive look at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/550/71/

The leaky building syndrome was the result of cultural failure rather than technical failure. You will find my submissions to the Select Committee at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/495/71/

Through 2010 debate raged within the NZIA about environmental policy. To remind a new generation I put some of our original Position Papers on line at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/502/71/ 

If you remember "Jumping Sundays" in 1969 you will enjoy some phtoographs of the 40th anniversary at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/489/71/ 

I failed to make any submissions to the Select Committee on the Emissions Trading Act. That was a bad mistake. It seemed to me that there would be enough intelligent green people to shake out all the issues. With alarm I have watched discussion driven by selfishness going nowhere. Real self-interest would suggest that we ought to set up the global carbon market in New Zealand. The market will make the money, and before long taxation could be a thing of the past for our country. That would be smart business. We would have more money than we could work out how to spend. Letting someone else run our game is simply selling our soul.

You will find an introduction to the Carbon Con Trick at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/385/71/

Chris Barfoot has written a superb book on Tahuna Torea. I hope the short quotation at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/312/71/
might tempt you to buy the book.

The Royal Commission on Auckland Governance seems doomed to failure. Two of the three members managed to produce a report on rates which failed to address almost everything of relevance and came up with a non-conclusion. I knew they would be dismissive of the submission you will find at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/364/71/
but how could anyone have nothing to say?

On a cheerful note the story at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/390/71/
of how a Curitiba bus brought action on the Link bus offers hope.

Stroke victims might be interested in my thoughts at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/367/71/
about making your stroke a positive experience.

So what's new in Vernacular Architect? Print E-mail

ImageHome Work, a book by Godwit, an imprint of Random House, was published in November 2010. The superb text is by John Walsh, and Patrick Reynolds did the photographs. The book presents 23 architects and their own homes. Tony Watkins was one of the architects chosen and you will find the section on him at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/567/84/
  Unfortunately it is now out of print, but you may find a copy in a second hand book store. "Home NZ" reprinted the entire section on Tony.

Issue 5:2010 of Architecture New Zealand featured the libraries of seven architects. Each architect then selected five books of significance to them. Tony Watkins was one of the featured architects and you will find details at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/568/84/
However to understand the context you should buy a copy of the magazine.

Issue 6:2010 of "Architecture NZ" featured my plea to use the planning process to save our best architecture. You will find "Lessons from Coolangatta" at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/571/84/
The message seems even more poignant after Council corruption won out over people's democracy with the loss of the wonderful houses in Turua Street, Saint Heliers.

Beyond the vernacular Tony has been involved with a great deal of mainstream architecture. A few of these projects may be found on the web-site. The Hayward Gallery London is at www.tony-watkins/content/view/509/84/
Liverpool Cathedral is at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/519/84/
Government Life Hamilton is at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/511/84/
Te Awamutu church is at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/
At the very beginning of his career Tony designed the sundial in the Waitangi Tresty grounds. You will find that at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/510/84/

Image Despots, great and small, are notable for the excesses of their architecture, and ego-architects love them. Architectural magazines thrive on images of despotic architecture just because the buildings are so photogenic. The public gets the message that real architecture comes with a multi-million dollar price tag. In contrast idealistic visionaries are notable for the simplicity and purity of their architecture. It can easily be overlooked.

At www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/388/84/
you will find a glimpse of the simplicity of Ben Gurion’s house at Sede Boker.

The publicity from the RIBA said their September 2008 Conference would "propose that increasing environmental concerns might lead to a return to the vernacular”. The line up of speakers did not look hopeful, but at last my contention of the last forty years has begun bearing fruit. The Conference was also to “question whether globalised architecture can be truly sustainable”. The answer to that should have been obvious. The Conference also looked "at how architecture can take away identity from places”, “at worst suppressing the local vernacular in favour of a global style”. It seemed when John Hunt and Errol Haarhoff destroyed my Vernacular Architecture course, probably because the students assessed it to be the most popular course in the School, that I had lost the battle, but eventually the globalisation pendulum swung back to indicate that they were wrong and I was right. 

A couple of photographs of Dobroyd Head are at www.tony-watkins.com/content/view/508/84/
Just something to give hope to those who despair at the direction the world is going in.

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