Day 1,119: Architecture’s Last Hurrah

Tue 24.01.12:

Up early and it was ta-ta Wellington (I’d be returning next week sans Mandy) and yey off to Napier! Napier is a seaside town on the east coast and was rather fortunate to be destroyed by an Earthquake in 1931. When I say fortunate, I don’t mean that earthquakes are a good thing, I just mean that if it had been destroyed in 1971 they would have re-built the city using disgusting blocks of concrete that wouldn’t look out of place on a WWII battlefield. Happily, the thirties were the decade of the last great hurrah of architecture (before they decided to embarrass and frustrate the hell out of future generations by not building anything beautiful ever again), Art Deco.

And so Napier is adorned with some of the finest examples of the movement this side of Miami. Yeah, I know it’s just dolled up concrete, but so’s the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool: it still looks totally kick-ass. IT IS POSSIBLE! For a architecture nazi like myself, I was in seventh heaven. WHY DON’T WE STILL BUILD STUFF LIKE THIS??!!! I cried to myself noisily in the street.

Why, Why, WHY???!!

So Mand and I spent a pleasant day skipping around Napier, the Art Deco Capital of the Southern Hemisphere.

In the evening we stuffed our faces with steaks from the Hogsbreath restaurant and then grabbed a couple of drinks in the local Irish pub. There’s ALWAYS an Irish pub.

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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