Favourite build­ing

Blair Jack­son ad­mires the Christchurch home/stu­dio of the late Bill Sut­ton

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“I pass the Sut­ton House each day on my walk to work. I’d known about Bill’s house for a long time. I’d of­ten heard peo­ple talk about it, and I knew about its his­tory – I’d met Bill quite a few times and I worked with Neil Roberts, the owner of the house af­ter Bill. But it wasn’t un­til early 2016 that I first saw the build­ing when my wife, Kim, and I were house-hunt­ing in the neigh­bour­hood. The mod­est yet beau­ti­fully de­signed house sits in a fan­tas­tic ram­bling gar­den and looks out to the sur­round­ing Port Hills. The house now stands alone; the last re­main­ing prop­erty in this part of the res­i­den­tial red zone. It’s nice to think of Bill work­ing there, paint­ing im­ages of the hills he so loved. How­ever, what re­ally draws me to this place is that it was de­signed in 1961 by Bill’s friend Tom Tay­lor, who was also an artist. Tom was one of my lec­tur­ers at the Univer­sity of Can­ter­bury’s School of Fine Arts. He scared the shit out of me in my first year. He might have been one of the rea­sons I went into the paint­ing depart­ment rather than study­ing sculp­ture. I did take sculp­ture as a mi­nor sub­ject, though, and spent a day a week over the course of my de­gree work­ing with Tom. I grew to like him a lot and, look­ing back, he might have taught me a thing or two. I’m pleased that Bill’s house is go­ing to be saved and given to the city, and I’m grate­ful to ev­ery­one who has helped make this hap­pen. It’s an ex­cep­tional build­ing in a unique lo­ca­tion. Look­ing at the house’s lovely de­tails, I hear Tom’s voice say­ing, ‘form fol­lows func­tion’. What’s im­por­tant now is that its fu­ture func­tion suits its per­fect form.”

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