05 OCT 2018

Tibor Donner House, 1947

Last weekend we were delighted to take part in the Auckland Heritage Festival viewing of the home built for his family by Hungarian architect Tibor Donner.

Words by Emma Eagle, Photography by Dan Eagle

Donner was part of a wave of emigré architects which contributed to the modernist design landscape emerging in New Zealand in the 1940s. He has left a significant mark on Auckland's architectural heritage with the work done for Auckland City Council – most notably the Parnell Baths and the Civic Administration Building.

The recently restored home and studios he created for his own use are outstanding works of mid-century architecture of themselves. A unique curved form influenced by Art Deco lines is combined with a flat roof structure and matched perfectly to the elevated Titirangi site which overlooks the city. Thoughtful details like the series of rectangular forms cut away from the roof line offer texture and add to the sense of lightness.

Internally, we loved the continuous use of inbuilt cabinetry throughout the home and the use of warm, inviting materials like wood and cork. The lounge and dining spaces are delightful, light filled spaces which are perfect for entertaining and connect seamlessly with the exterior.

Of course we couldn't finish a post about Tibor Donner's home without giving a mention to the incredible and unique curved plywood armchair which seems to have been a one-off design. As was the tradition of the time, Donner often designed furniture for the buildings he created. We have been lucky enough to collect some of these pieces over time.

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