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Fresh thinking about architecture

PRESS RELEASE for immediate release

Models and pin-ups expose fresh thinking about architecture

Driven by the commitment to engage in a public discussion about architecture, Wellington-based architects KebbellDaish have produced an exhibition ‘Great Figure!’ which features three houses in Wellington, on Great Barrier Island and Mornington Peninsula (near Melbourne).

‘We want to illustrate ways in which architecture can reflect people’s attitudes, values and beliefs, whether they’re building for themselves or other people’ architect Sam Kebbell says.

When asked what ties the three exhibited projects together Kebbell says emphatically ‘Attitude. Our clients’ all have a strong attitude to the places they have built, even if they are strikingly different to each other. None of the houses look or feel like each other because the projects grew out of attitudes evident in completely different conversations, with three very different clients.’ This is Kebbell’s hope - that both public and private architecture be the result of long and thoughtful conversations which start with attitudes not a preconceived aesthetic or formulaic plan. That discussion empowers the public to fully engage in a discipline that affects us all.

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‘Of course not everyone can build houses like these (in the exhibition), nor should they. We encourage anyone building a house, an office, a public space or even adding on a couple of extra bedrooms, to think about what makes them tick first, and what they value most. Only then can architecture really do its job.’

‘Too many people start with style’ Kebbell explains. ‘They ask themselves what their building should look like and soon they’re onto what shape it should be and what it is made of without considering what the building is actually trying to do.’ He adds that ‘by approaching style first people are not really thinking of their building as theirs but rather as someone else’s. That’s a lost opportunity.’

Each house exhibited in the show features a key space, a ‘figure’ as KebbellDaish refers to them. There is a veranda, a courtyard, and a pathway - each ‘figure’ has formed the basis of each design respectively. For example, the project on Great Barrier Island was developed as part of a network of pathways which zig-zag through the regenerating bush surrounding the house. A new pathway leading up to, through and around the house has shaped the design of the entire project.

KebbellDaish Architects was founded in 2002 by Sam Kebbell and John Daish (now retired). As well as directing and managing KebbellDaish, Sam is a lecturer at Victoria University’s School of Architecture in Wellington. To find out more visit

‘Great Figure!’ is open Sun 21 – Tue 23 November at Bowen Galleries, 39 Ghuznee St (between Marion/Cuba Sts).


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