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Victoria honours distinguished architect

24 October 2006

Victoria University honours distinguished architect

An architect whose award-winning designs span beach houses to the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest tower is to receive an honorary doctorate from Victoria University of Wellington.

Gordon Moller will receive an honorary Doctor of Literature degree at the University’s Graduation Ceremonies in December. This degree is the University's customary award to recognise creative achievement in all art forms other than music.

Mr Moller, who holds a Diploma in Architecture from the University of Auckland and is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, has won more than 50 awards from the NZIA and industry organisations. This year he was awarded his third NZIA Gold Award in recognition of a career of consistent and outstanding service to architecture, which has encompassed a remarkable involvement in design, publication, education, and service to the profession.

Growing up in Lower Hutt, Mr Moller studied at the Wellington Polytechnic School of Design, before moving to Auckland where he completed a Diploma in Architecture at the University of Auckland in 1967.

His career as a designer began with a series of small houses in which he which explored the foundation of New Zealand architecture—the family home. The first of these to attract notice was his own house at Birkdale, designed while he was still a student. Shortly afterwards, a second house, designed in 1969 for his own family at Pinehaven, received a Bronze Medal in 1970 and a Silver Medal in 1971.

In 1969 he established the firm of Craig Craig Moller with James and Jon Craig. The practice established a high reputation, firstly in its work with houses before expanding into commercial work. Many of the awards won by the practice were for projects designed by Gordon Moller, including a Te Horo beach house in 1988.

His most public work was his design of Auckland’s Sky Tower, the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest tower which, while it won an NZIA National Award, was the subject of much debate but is now an accepted part of the Auckland landscape. It was followed by a similar tower in Macau, and a number of other major urban buildings including award-winning projects in the Viaduct Basin.

Through his commitment to Continuing Professional Development, his seven years as editor of The Journal of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, and his presidency of the Institute (2003-6), he has assiduously promoted the profession. It was during his presidency that Parliament passed the new Architects Act.

Mr Moller has retained a strong interest in Victoria as a member of the University’s Campus Planning Group (1985-1998) and for two years served as a Professorial Teaching Fellow (1990-91). The time at Victoria served him well as he went on to win an NZIA National Award in 1995 for his work on the University’s Te Aro Campus, home of the Faculty of Architecture & Design. The firm also assisted Ampersand Architects in the design for the refurbishment of the University’s iconic Hunter Building.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Pat Walsh, said Mr Moller had provided distinguished leadership to the profession through his award-winning designs and his participation in a host of professional, governmental and cultural bodies.

“Gordon’s career of creativity in architecture and design has also has been marked by consistent and outstanding service. He is one of a small handful of New Zealand architects of whom it can be truly said that he has made a broad and significant contribution to the advancement of architecture and culture in this country. From homes to public buildings, he has made a lasting impression on our urban landscape.”

ENDS

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