Amritsar House

Photo: David St George

New Zealand - Biennale Architettura 2016

New Zealand - Biennale Architettura 2016

For several decades, Amritsar House has been New Zealand architecture’s most extraordinary story, just as Sir Ian Ath eld was its most compelling gure. Athfield started building the house in the late 1960s, when he was young, hairy and provocative – he was always fun – and he just kept going, for nearly half a century, until his death in 2015. The house, a mash-up of Metabolism and Mediterranean and New Zealand colonial vernacular forms, spills like a Cycladic village down a steep Wellington hillside, outing local building and social conventions. Mainly masonry (in the midst of timbered suburbia), the complex accommodates not just several generations of the Athfield family and various tenants, transients and domestic animals, but also the Athfield architecture practice. Amritsar House has angered neighbours and bemused the local council, but, although Ath eld could be mischievous, the house is more treatise than tease. In its mix of private and communal areas – and despite appearances, the house is thus arranged – Amritsar House expresses its architect’s beliefs about how we might live together, tolerably and tolerantly. (text: John Walsh, Future Islands catalogue, Suburban Islands)

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  • Title: Amritsar House
  • Creator: Photo: David St George


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