Session at AAANZ Conference 2019: Ngā Tūtaki – Encounter/s: Agency, Embodiment, Exchange, Ecologies

Following a well-trained narrative, the Auckland University students of the late 1940s who established The Group aimed at developing their own strand of modernism: “Overseas solutions will not do. New Zealand must have its own architecture, its own sense of what is beautiful and appropriate to our climate and conditions.” On the other hand, architecture by the European émigré architects, such as Ernst Plischke, was often seen as too universal and not representing the local conditions; it was even seen as outdated. But was it really as clear-cut as that? Did not the Group also look towards the European modernist architects as their models? Did not Plischke relate his houses very closely to their place as evidenced by his Henderson House in Alexandra, Otago?  

Lewis Mumford suggested the California ‘Bay Region style’ as a “truly universal style … since it permits regional adaptation and modifications”. Written in 1947, Mumford’s claim might be seen as a mediator between the universalist demands of International modernism and the ostensible rejection of ‘overseas solutions’ on the other hand.

Questioning the perceived dichotomy between international and regional modernisms, this session is inviting papers that are looking for moments of dialogue or exchange between the two positions. Papers are invited that investigate encounters between architects, between architectural movements, perhaps buildings that demonstrate the bridging of this perceived gap, both in New Zealand and around the Pacific Rim.  


  • Session convenor: Christoph Schnoor, School of Architecture, Unitec Institute of Technology
  • Submit paper proposals to: [email protected]