+ About Christchurch Modern
We're not architects, we're not historians and we don't know much about anything. However we do like modern houses and Christchurch is a great place for them.
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Don Cowey.

We were asked by the Dominion Post for some information on Don. Here’s what I wrote.

I met him just the once. He invited me and my friend Tim to his home. We had a cup of tea and he talked about his career and the houses he designed. He was modest, but proud of his achievements. He spoke kindly about his contemporaries and reverently about Peter Beaven whom he called “the master of space”.

He told his story happily, but quite factually and talked us through his designs, good and bad. Some houses he was fond of, others he said weren’t so great. I asked him about the inconsistency and he confessed he always felt like the ‘servant’ to his client. He said other designers, Miles Warren in particular, were able to dictate to clients. Don admired Miles for this, but admitted it just wasn’t his way and he yielded to his clients wishes as he felt “it was their house” and “I just did my best”. He wondered aloud if it were his Christian beliefs?
His most successful designs were for ‘enlightened’ clients: Professor John Walker in Halswell, Professor John McLauchlan and the artist Olivia Spencer Bower in Merivale and the Brougham Village, which won NZIA 2008 award for enduring architecture. He also won the NZIA merit award in 1967 for a house at the end of Burrowes Pl in Fendalton. It’s probably one of the country’s best examples of Japanese-influenced Modernism, now decaying and unappreciated in a suburban culdesac.

He was one of New Zealand’s great modern architects – a major figure in the “Christchurch Style” – and it’s important he’s recognised as such. He would never have said it himself, but he was a great architect.

The image is of Don & Jocelyn’s original home on Main Rd, Redcliffs (since demolished)

One Response to “Don Cowey.”

  1. Blake Says:


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