The Factory and the Chicken House: Construction Experiments in 1950s Auckland.

  • YEAR
    Francis, Kerry
    2011 Conference Papers
    Construction Technology


A posthumous 1992 curriculum vitae for the Architect and Engineer, Richard Hobin
records that during the period 1951-1953 he designed and built eight houses and seven factories in the
New Zealand city of Auckland. Hobin’s interests and those of his colleagues, collectively known as
Structural Developments (Renate Prince, Henry James, John Scott and Frank Stockman), were part of
a global, post- war interest in rational structure and construction efficiency. This paper compares the
factory that Structural Developments designed and built for the plastics manufacturing company
Clearlite (1951) with a building for the production of table birds by Group Architects (1954). The
Chicken House, produced for the landscape designer Odo Strewe, used steel and concrete but in very
different ways to the Clearlite factory. This paper will examine the remaining records held by archives
and local authorities and then discuss the blurring of disciplinary boundaries, and the representational
and construction techniques employed in the production of these two building experiments.


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