Welling­ton-based ar­chi­tect Chris Moller is the host of Grand De­signs NZ, cur­rently screen­ing on Sun­days at 8.30pm on TV3.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

Chris Moller from Grand De­signs

The item in my house that never fails to make me smile is... My book­shelf, full of gems and in­spi­ra­tion. It’s ab­so­lutely chocker and a bit chaotic. It’s largely got col­lec­tions on stuff I love – sail­ing, ar­chi­tec­ture and books I in­her­ited from Dad on au­to­mo­biles. He was an au­to­mo­tive en­gi­neer; he re­stored cars and there were al­ways projects go­ing on in our garage. The book that changed my

life was… Walden Pond by Henry David Thoreau. It’s about Thoreau’s twoyear ex­per­i­ment with sus­tain­able liv­ing. He was a tran­scen­den­tal­ist, fo­cused on be­ing tuned into na­ture. He said to dwell doesn’t mean to be in a house, it means to be in tune with the place that you live. I think that is re­ally lovely. In the old days a house was less about be­ing dis­con­nected from the land and more about en­gag­ing you with it. My ul­ti­mate hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion

is… The small towns and vil­lages of south­ern Europe. Nor­man Carver’s pho­to­graphic es­says had a big ef­fect on me. He wrote sev­eral books in the late 1950s and early 60s with beau­ti­ful black and white pho­tographs of south­ern Euro­pean hill towns. When I first went to Europe in the 80s I made a pho­to­copy of a lit­tle map in the back of one of his books and went ex­plor­ing for six months or so. My daily rou­tine was to do 10 sketches a day – to use draw­ing as a tool to ob­serve. Those hill towns are a fan­tas­tic model for sustainability – they are com­pact with all the re­sources you need to live, work and farm.

My dream house is… The lit­tle moun­tain hut we call our home. It is a ba­sic cot­tage from the 1940s and we’ve added a lit­tle Click-Raft studio, us­ing the crazy build­ing sys­tem I’ve de­vel­oped. Our home is just 100 square me­tres, very sim­ple. We are im­mersed in the bush up a 45-de­gree slope. There is no drive-on ac­cess – so we have to carry in ev­ery­thing up 200 steps.

I feel pas­sion­ate about… Pro­tect­ing what we have. John Scott was a fa­mous Maori ar­chi­tect who de­signed Fu­tuna Chapel in Welling­ton. He was a very im­por­tant men­tor for me. Be­ing Maori he had a re­ally deep feel­ing for the land. One of his build­ings is the Ani­waniwa Vis­i­tor Cen­tre in Waikare­moana, which was com­mis­sioned by DOC and sup­ported by lo­cal iwi. It was re­cently an­nounced it will be de­mol­ished, which is re­ally dis­turb­ing. To be re­mov­ing any of John’s build­ings is sac­ri­lege. If I could in­vent one thing it would be…

An el­e­gant, well-de­signed, low-cost build­ing sys­tem.

A per­fect Satur­day is spent... WALK­ING THE BUSH-CLAD HILLS OR THE BEACH.” When I’m work­ing hard I like to un­wind by lis­ten­ing to J. J. Cale or Brian Eno.

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