Auckland grew massively over the 20th century, from being a similar size to Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin, to being over three times their size, and home to a third of the population. Much hideousness was built and much beauty lost, but a number of cornerstones of Auckland architecture remain.
Auckland Town Hall (1911)
Originally designed to have a twin building facing it across Aotea Square but works perfectly as a standalone highlight on Queen Street. Less ornate than The Civic or St James Theatre but still full of atmosphere.
Auckland Ferry Terminal (1912)
Very nearly demolished but thankfully saved to remain a welcome sight as probably the most attractive building on the waterfront.
University of Auckland Clock Tower (1926)
To my eye Tolkien in New Zealand before Lord of the Rings came here. A distinctive addition to the skyline from Albert Park, if somewhat less inspiring on the inside.
St James Theatre (1928)
Neglected for far too long but thankfully now in the process of restoration. Can’t wait to see the results.
Civic Theatre (1929)
One of the most beautiful theatres anywhere in the world. Originally designed as a cinema, and brilliantly suited to this during the New Zealand International Film Festival every July / August. Also home to theatre, musicals, gigs, and comedy shows. The free behind the scenes tours during the Auckland Heritage Festival in September / October each year are highly recommended, and very popular, book ahead.
Auckland War Memorial Museum (1929)
Built in two halves (the rear half in 1960), this is probably the most impressive piece of neoclassical architecture in New Zealand, and an iconic sight in The Domain, particularly when lit at night.
Musick Memorial Radio Station (1942)
Striking building in the ‘Moderne’ style, in a beautiful setting looking out across the Hauraki Gulf.
McCahon House (1950s)
A little gem, surrounded by deep Titirangi bush, full of character and interest, reflecting it’s owner, the famous New Zealand artist Colin McCahon.
Civic Building (1966)
Auckland Council’s main home until the recent move into the former ASB Building. Very much divides opinion, generally against, but the building has its strong supporters, including myself.
West Plaza Building (1972)
Wouldn’t look out of place in Las Vegas, a striking slice of 70s style on Albert Street.
Sky Tower (1997)
Late 20th century but hard to ignore as the most recognisable part of Auckland’s built skyline, competing with Mt Eden and Rangitoto. A great visual anchor for the city, whether navigating or photographing.