Gordon Wilson

1900 - 1959

Chief Architect of the Department of Housing Construction (1938 - 1943)
Chief Architect of the Housing Division of the Public Works Department (1943 – 1952)
Assistant Government Architect (1948 – 1952)
Government Architect (1952 - 1959)

 

Francis Gordon Wilson was born in Perth, Australia and moved to New Zealand with his family in 1903. He was articled to architect William M Paige and studied at Auckland University College School of Architecture in 1920.

Wilson began his public service career as chief architect for the Department of Housing Construction in 1938. He had worked previously as an associate partner at Gummer and Ford and is known to have been involved in the design of the Remuera Public Library, Auckland Railway Station, Wellington Public Library, the National War Memorial and Carillon, and the National Art Gallery and Dominion Museum building in Wellington. He continued with the Department of Housing until 1943 when he was appointed chief architect of the Housing Division of the Public Works Department from 1943 – 1952, and progressed to assistant Government Architect from 1948 – 1952. Several influential modernist social housing developments were designed under his guidance, including the Berhampore Flats (built in 1939–40), the Dixon Street State Flats (1941–44), the McLean State Flats (1943–44), the Hanson Street Flats (1943–44), and Auckland’s Grey’s Avenue Flats (1945–47) and Symonds Street Flats (1945–47). The Dixon Street flats were awarded a gold medal by the NZIA in 1947.

As Government Architect from 1952 – 1959 Wilson attracted many talented young architects to work in his department including Ernst Plischke, Friedrich Neumann (Frederick Newman), Helmut Einhorn, Ian Reynolds and Douglas Beere. He also encouraged the establishment of the Wellington Architectural Centre and played a prominent role in the NZIA at branch and national levels.

 

 

Sources:

Gatley, Julia. 'Wilson, Francis Gordon', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 8-Apr-2014
URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/biographies/5w36/wilson-francis-gordon

Martin, Lewis E. “Built For Us: The work of Government and Colonial Architects, 1860s to 1960s,” (Dunedin: University of Otago Press, 2004)

Noonan, Rosslyn J. “By Design: A brief history of the Public Works Department, Ministry of Works 1870 – 1970,” (Wellington: AR Shearer, Government Printer, 1975)

Schrader, Ben. 'Public buildings - State-sector buildings', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 29-May-12 URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/public-buildings/2  

Wagstaff, Blyss and Alison Dangerfield. “Executive Wing (the Beehive), Wellington (List No.9629, Category I),” Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga – List Entry Report for a Historic Place, (2015)

WCC Heritage Inventory 2001

 

Last updated: 9/05/2016 11:17:22 p.m.