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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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Earthquakes, we hate you.

Our thoughts are with everyone in Christchurch affected by the February 22 Earthquake. We’re particularly saddened by the death of Don Cowey, legendary Christchurch architect and all round good guy, who was killed as a result of falling rocks at his Redcliffs home.

This one is going to take a while to get over.

Pictured are Warren & Mahoney’s MJW Davis (top) and I Munro houses.

8 Responses to “Earthquakes, we hate you.”

  1. Guy Says:

    We’re with you on that. Our commiserations on the disaster that has befallen Christchurch, especially to the family of Don Cowey, and the foreign students killed in the language schools. This scar will last for years: Christchurch will never be the same again.

    We’ve got no idea who you are really, but we’re glad to see that you are alive and well. Apart from the media saturation coverage of all the disaster hotspots, like the Pyne Gould building and CTV – it is hard to gain an idea of what the areas outside the CBD are looking like. Any information about the state of Christchurch architecture would be really appreciated for those of us out of town.

    All the best – we’re watching, and waiting to help if we can.

  2. admin Says:

    If you’re aware of any Christchurch Modern homes that are damaged, please let us know. It’s important that these homes are repaired and rebuilt. None have any heritage protection and anything we can do to highlight the importance of these houses will help.

    Matt & Tim

  3. Tobias Says:

    The Don Cowey house on Centaurus Rd looks to be badly damaged

  4. Peter Says:

    Don Cowey was a relative of mine. My family visited him last year in his house and he was an all-round great, spirited guy. This is just tragic. My heart really goes out to his immediate family.

  5. Tracey Smith-Jones Says:

    Hello to my fellow modernist house lovers in NZ. My deepest sympathy for your loss (on all levels) and for the loss of many architectural beauties. I am hoping that with the knockdown and rebuild to come, that architects of integrity and talent will be involved, so that your city will rebuild and retain its architectural heritage for generations to come. Let this be a challenge we can rise to. Form and function should be equally important. Let us create a living architecture — one that can be lived in and that will live on…

  6. Matt Says:

    Interesting to see some of the damage to some of these houses. I thought many were solid concrete block with steel reinforcing, but many infact appear to tbe using a breeze block construction without being filled with concrete and reinforcing, with only some reinforced steel concrete blocks being used. This means that they have only performed as well as the old red brick masonary houses. Perhaps this is due to lower earthquake standards back in the 60s and 70s, or the fact that Christchurch was seen as a low earthquake zone. I wonder if solid concrete block with reinforced steel would have performed better. Timber framed houses seem to have performed the best.

  7. Nigel Mahoney Says:

    Very sad loss of one of New Zealand’s pioneering architects. It is also a tragedy that some of our modernist treasures may be damaged and possibly lost forever. The home my father, Maurice built in Pentlow Place has sustained major damage – mostly from drastic subsidence due to the close proximity to the Wairarapa Stream. Eurotech (sp.?) had said they could possibly re-level the floor slabs following the Sept. 4 quake, but it has become obvious that there has been a lot more liquifaction and resulting subsidence from Feb. 22.
    I would be very surprised if this house can be saved now, it is so crooked. I have also been told that the W&M house built for R. Ballentyne (two sections away) may also be damaged beyond repair. Thanks for documenting these buildings when you did – this website has preserved our modernist heritage.

  8. admin Says:

    W&M’s Carlton Mill flats have been demolished.
    W&Ms Carlton Mill flats demolished

    The much-celebrated house Miles designed for his parents (the first Pixie House) is also irreparably damaged and certainly faces the same fate.
    Warren & Mahoney MB Warren House after the Christchurch Earthquake

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