Vertical Living – new book celebrates Architectural Centre anniversary

Press Release – Lighthouse Communications


Vertical Living offers a history of urban Wellington from the 1940s to the 1990s and beyond.

The Architectural Centre was set up in Wellington in 1946 by a group of young students and idealists – to realise their visions for a modern city.

More than just an association of architects, the Centre wrote manifestos, furthered education, published a magazine – the Design Review – hosted modernist exhibitions in its gallery, staged an audacious campaign for political influence called ‘the Project’ and fought in general for better planning, better design, better built environments in Wellington. Its members also built a demonstration house – but ‘planning was the battle-cry’.

Charting this opinionated organisation and its projects over the years, Julia Gatley and Paul Walker in Vertical Living offer a unique history of urban Wellington from 1940 until today. The book reminds us that in modernist ideology, architecture and urban planning went hand-in-hand with visual and craft arts, graphic and industrial design to create the modern possibility. In recovering the powerful history, politics and planning of the Architectural Centre, Gatley and Walker begin writing the city back into the history of architecture in this country.

The Architectural Centre’s anniversary is 23 July. The authors will speak at events in Wellington and Auckland.

Julia Gatley is a senior lecturer in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland. A graduate of Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Melbourne, she is author of Athfield Architects (2012) and editor of Group Architects: Towards a New Zealand Architecture (2010) and Long Live the Modern: New Zealand’s New Architecture, 1904–1984 (2008).

Paul Walker is a professor of architecture at the University of Melbourne. Educated at the University of Auckland, he taught at Victoria University of Wellington for ten years. He is co-author with Justine Clark of Looking for the Local: Architecture and the New Zealand Modern (2000)

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