People & Places

My Favourite Building: architect Richard Naish

Article by Home Magazine

It took two decades for architect Richard Naish to admire the nave of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell, Auckland. He tell us why and what’s changed

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My Favourite Building: architect Richard Naish

“When I first saw this building I didn’t like it, but that was partly connected with the fact that I didn’t know what I was doing. As I’ve grown as an architect, I’ve grown to like the building and I think that’s because the gable form is the most relevant and most interesting roof line we have in New Zealand – you’ve got the church, the tramping hut, the wharenui and the shearing shed. They’re distinctly local and that’s something I’ve always been interested in.

The folded form is incredibly powerful and a little ambiguous. The triple peak – the main peak over the nave and the secondary peaks, which articulate the aisles – is a reference to traditional cathedrals, but it also looks like a draped cloak. But unlike a traditional cathedral, there are no columns between the nave and the aisles so, technically, it must have been incredibly difficult because the roof is very thin. When I drive past I wonder what’s going on, and how they did it.

It’s a really good example of how architecture isn’t always beautiful, but it can be very powerful in its expression and communication of ideas. It’s been making me think for the past 20 years: it’s become like an old friend. And sometimes with old friends, you don’t like them every day.”

Photography by: David Straight.

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