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THE DESIGN CHASER

I never met a straight line I didn't like

1.27.2021

Just last week in this interview, I was talking about how much I treasure my collection of design books. Later that day I found out about an architectural book recently published here in New Zealand, and it went straight to my wishlist. I never met a straight line I didn’t like by Mary Gaudin and Matthew Arnold is about the Scandinavian-inspired architectural movement that bubbled up in Christchurch in the 1960s. An intriguing book, it features 12 homes of the period - each intact examples of the ideas and materials - along with archival images and plans. Here’s a look at a few examples...

Client: RC Ballantyne / Architects: Warren & Mahoney / Year: 1973

Client: PNG Blaxall / Architect: Griffiths & Moffat / Year: 1967

Client: B Jones / Architect: Ian Athfield / Year: 1968


Client: B Jones / Architect: Ian Athfield / Year: 1968

Mary Gaudin is a New Zealand photographer living in Montpellier, France, and Matthew Arnold is co-founder of the design studio, Sons & Co. I never met a straight line I didn't like is a follow-up to their previous book, which some of you will no doubt be familiar with, Down the long driveway, you'll see it. A book of New Zealand Mid Century architecture which Douglas Lloyd Jenkins described as "exceptionally beautiful, full of real surprises and destined to become a much-sought-after collector’s item”. 

Client: JH Elworthy / Architects: Warren & Mahoney / Year: 1968

Client: SG Erber / Architect: Nicholas Kennedy / Year: 1969


Client: SG Erber / Architect: Nicholas Kennedy / Year: 1969

Client: HR Irving / Architects: Warren & Mahoney / Year: 1968


Client: HR Irving / Architects: Warren & Mahoney / Year: 1968

The fascinating architectural movement is explained in the new book...

"During the 1960s in Christchurch, New Zealand, a remarkable thing happened. This small, conservative city at the bottom of the world exploded with a creative force which developed into a recognisable and distinct style of architecture that was widely admired and imitated and remains influential today.

"For a decade Christchurch architects worked with a potent energy and urgency, creating hundreds of homes (and many of New Zealand's best public and commercial buildings) in a regional style that is arguably the closest thing the country has to a modern indigenous style of architecture. 

"The ingredients of the Christchurch Style - a Danish model of housing; transplanted, adapted and perfected on the Canterbury Plains - were deceptively simple: concrete block walls painted pure white; steeply-pitched roofs with the eaves shaved clean off; deep-set square windows; and fantastically tall chimneys - yet the results were complex, sculptural and beautifully detailed homes in a repeatable style that was quickly adopted and by the mid-1960s these crisp white homes were the accepted symbol of cool prosperity.

"Hundreds of homes were designed in the Christchurch Style, many of which have since been altered, neglected or ruthlessly demolished. The Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 thinned numbers further and the homes illustrated here are just a small representation of the style and architects of the period. They remain as intact examples of the ideas, materials and optimism of the time."

Extract from I never met a straight line I didn't like by Mary Gaudin and Matthew Arnold






The book is available to purchase from Straightlinebook.nz with free shipping worldwide. 

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