I have a very clear memory of being given a bootleg tape of Nirvana’s 1991 album Nevermind at the back of English class by my friend Paul, who insisted that I copy it and give it back immediately. I never did: it’s still in a box under the house. I hadn’t listened to the album for years and when I did – this time on Spotify, not a scratchy cassette – I realised it wasn’t the hits that I remembered most fondly. Oh sure, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘Come as You Are’ are modern masterpieces that changed music forever, but I also listened to the B sides – the tracks that didn’t make the singles charts – with intense affection. Around the same time, I was looking through old copies of this magazine for our 80th anniversary celebrations when I came across a particularly striking house in the February/March 1991 issue. White-painted concrete block walls and sarked timber ceilings, terracotta floor tiles and volumes that seemed to expand and contract. It was designed by John Scott for his daughter Ema on family land at Haumoana: she still lives there, but few outside the family have seen it since it was published a quarter of a century ago. It was, I realised, a kind of architectural B side; a house that shows an architect in full command of his talents, having spent decades working out details and forms, spaces and the flow of one room to the next. Within a few weeks, I came across more examples – including the delightful 1980s home of Ross Jenner which features on our cover – and so we decided to dedicate a whole issue to forgotten houses. They’re houses that speak of both time and place, and which show the development of their architect’s work from project to project. But they’re also homes that are lived in by people in 2017, having endured through the decades with all of their original delight and grace intact. That’s worth celebrating. And Paul – give me a ring if you want your tape back. It’s still good.
We’re just putting the final touches on the itinerary for our judging tour for Home of the Year, brought to you by Altherm Window Systems. We’ll soon set off with our international guest judge, Todd Saunders, and two-time winner Richard Naish, travelling from one end of the country to the other in search of the six best houses for 2017.
As with last year, there are four sub-categories as well as the supreme award – Best City Home, Best Multi-Unit, Best Small Home and, new for this year, Best Retreat. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the ways in which this has changed the houses entered: check out our feature on some of the entries on page 30. And don’t forget to come along to our public talks with Saunders in Wellington and Auckland on February 14 and 16.
Above left Top left The rejuvenation of the particularly lovely Hastings City Art Gallery (p.54). The Haumoana home designed for Ema Scott by her father, the late John Scott (p.98). Top right Ross Jenner’s compound in Remuera, Auckland celebrates interiority (p.110). Above right Gregory O’Brien reflects on Aniwaniwa (p.58).