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

Tony Watkins

 ~ Vernacular Design 

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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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