Pa­trick Reynolds

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The pho­tog­ra­pher vis­ited Christchurch to cover a new home (p.86) and a 50-year-old col­lege build­ing (p.58).

What was it like vis­it­ing Tobin Smith’s lit­tle house?

Won­der­ful. Such a per­fect cave; out­side so de­fen­sive and re­ced­ing, in­side so light and nur­tur­ing. And with a good strong Christchurch gable.

You live in a lovely fam­ily villa ren­o­vated by Mal­colm Walker. Can you see your­self in a smaller space?

Ab­so­lutely. Get­ting a bit itchy for the next project in fact; not that we're done with the cur­rent one by any means, we still love it so much. But we are quite ex­cited by the thought of the per­fectly formed and lo­cated apart­ment... when the ‘flat­mates' move on.

You also re­vis­ited Col­lege House for us. What were your impressions?

A rev­e­la­tion. Sir Miles in his mid-cen­tury pomp, de­liv­er­ing a prob­a­bly only-in­Can­ter­bury kind of well-man­nered Bru­tal­ism. And I marvel at the ge­nius of the high-minded Angli­can in­sti­tu­tion that en­abled it to hap­pen and that nur­tures it still. Within the won­der­fully massed glacier-edge white block forms there's the gen­eral pro­gramme of an Oxbridge col­lege, which is also ush­ered up in mo­ments of arts and crafts de­tail­ing, par­tic­u­larly in the din­ing hall. There's a proper quad: its reg­u­lar­ity mag­nif­i­cently in­ter­rupted by the mass of the seem­ingly sus­pended chapel. This build­ing, rep­re­sent­ing the ide­o­log­i­cal heart of the en­deav­our, ar­rests the pedes­trian through the ag­gres­sive com­pres­sion of its over­hang. Such con­fi­dent theatre is rare in New Zealand ar­chi­tec­ture.

What else are you work­ing on at the mo­ment?

I'm keen to re­turn to Christchurch and take a longer look at the re­build. There's a new book project cir­cling, and an­other as yet un­con­firmed ur­ban project. And with ur­ban ad­vo­cacy in Auck­land, I've re­cently jumped the fence, poacher to game­keeper, with a role with the Auck­land Trans­port board. It's a very ex­cit­ing time in the de­vel­op­ment of Auck­land's built en­vi­ron­ment.

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