Thursday, April 5, 2012

Architects are wankers

So says Steve Braunias and who am I to argue? But I will.

It is true that some of the biggest wankers I have ever met are architects. It is also true that some of my best friends are architects. One of my architect friends is Malcolm Walker and this is his book, his seventh:

I like it very much. It gathers in its 188 pages a generous selection of cartoons mocking the absurdities of other architects, mainly from Architecture NZ but also from Progressive Building, Sunday News and even Interstices. The book costs $50 and is worth it.

I am proud to say that I published some of these cartoons. John Walsh, until recently the (outstanding) editor of Architecture NZ, provides an introduction and an illuminating interview with Malcolm; there is also a foreword by that other great architectural cartoonist, England’s Louis Hellman.

As John Walsh says, the cartoons “tell a story of 25 years of architecture in New Zealand, of the issues that have come and gone, and of those that persist and recur”. They are also very, very funny. Several made me laugh out loud, especially the set of Old Masters at pp 148-9 – very much an in-joke, but a magnificent one that features, among others, John Blair, Ted McCoy, Chris Kelly, Andrew Patterson, Pete Bossley, Peter Beaven and the irrepressible Michael Thomson. The Crosson Clarke is the cruellest, but then it is April. 

The cartoon below, “Sheilas in Architecture” (click on it for a bigger version), is from a 1993 issue of Architecture NZ: “Mandy” must be Amanda Reynolds; “Jane” is possibly Jane Aimer, whom I adore. The book was designed by Malcolm’s partner Diana Curtis, whom I adore even more. She is the best designer I have ever worked with and has inserted a few jokes of her own. I don’t mean to shout, but this is a Very Good Book.

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