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9 Ford Rd. Frankel House. Ernst Plischke.

Modified almost beyond recognition, here’s an important house in New Zealand modernism, introducing the open, L-shape plan in the late 30s. Ernst Plischke, an Austrian Emigre, designed this home for his sponsors. It was his first private commission in New Zealand and completed whilst at the Ministry of Works in Wellington.

In his book Design and Living Plischke writes:

Since in a house of this size a separate study can rarely be afforded, the bedroom is equipped with a bed-recess closed by a curtain, and the room is furnished as a bed-livingroom. Far from being a show-piece on the street front the garden is domestic and private. It becomes even more private if the neighbouring houses have similar shaped plans, enabling the bedroom wings of the houses to create enclosed living courtyards. The back porch is not at the back of the house, but at the side. The delivery boy does not have to walk along the whole length of the house, but enters directly from the street front. This arrangement gives the garden still more privacy.

The idea of keeping everything as light and thin as technically possible carries through also in to the interior design. Each chair is made according to its use and purpose. The dining chairs are as light as possible; the reading chair is rather more comfortable. All of them can be easily moved.

The Frankel house circa 1940

The design was said to reference Frank Lloyd Wright’s Jacob house (above), but Plischke was not in agreement.

7 Responses to “9 Ford Rd. Frankel House. Ernst Plischke.”

  1. Warmth from the sun | Distracted Scientist Says:

    [...] is also a tale of how far we have come. When Austrian refugee architect Ernst Plischke designed a house in Christchurch c.1940, it was initially rejected because it did not have any* south facing windows. The issue was, [...]

  2. Leo Voorhoeve Says:

    Hi, just read your interest in the Frankle House , in Ford Rd. This week “Southern Response” has decided its a rebuild instead of repairing it due to major foundation costs.I am trying to prevent this. I am the current owner and feel it should be saved .

  3. admin Says:

    There’s no question it’s an important house and you’re quite right, it should be saved. Ideally, restored to the original plans.
    All the very best with it. Perhaps removing the unsympathetic second-storey addition may help simplify the foundations required?

  4. Michael Thorpe Says:

    Curious – what happened?

  5. Nikora Jonathan Says:

    Yes please, interested to know more… if you have the energy Leo, no doubt some difficult decisions have been made.

  6. Clare Hiĺl Says:

    I rememeber this house when I was very young. Built and owned by Otto and Margaret Frankel who were very good friends of my mother. Margaret was my God Mother. I wonder if the house was damaged during the big earthquake. I would be interest to see the house as it is today?

  7. Jessica Halliday Says:

    Just got word this house is now for sale – as I understand it it’s an as-is-where-is situation. Please promote this opportunity!

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