28 NOV 2016

A University Challenge by Warren and Mahoney

On a recent trip to Christchurch we were lucky enough to get a personal tour of the iconic brutalist masterpiece that is College House.

Words and Photography by Dan Eagle

When the University of Canterbury moved from the centre of Christchurch to a more spacious site in the suburb of Ilam, the historic student accommodation of College House soon followed. Progressive architectural firm Warren and Mahoney were commissioned to design the buildings, which were completed in 1966. The result was one of New Zealand's most revered examples of modernist architecture in the brutalist style.

As Emma is an alumni of College House, we were generously offered a personal tour of the buildings and the extensive collection of New Zealand fine art housed within. Plain white concrete-block walls contrast with aged copper and elaborate exposed wooden beams to create highly memorable spaces. It's easy to see why it won the NZIA Gold Medal in 1969 and Enduring Architecture Award in 1999.

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