Gummer and Ford


The Auckland-based partnership of Gummer and Ford was established in 1923. For the following two decades it was the pre-eminent architectural practice in New Zealand. The firm won the most important architectural competition of the inter-war period, that for the Dominion Museum (1936), and they won Gold Medals from the Institute of Architects for the Remuera Library (1928) and the Auckland Railway Station (1931). Other important commissions included the Dilworth Building, Auckland (1926); the Domain Wintergardens (1928); Massey Memorial (1928); and the State Insurance Building, Wellington (1940). The Guardian Trust Building, Auckland (1921) and Bridge of Remembrance, Christchurch (1924) were designed by Gummer before the formation of the partnership. He also designed some outstanding houses, the most notable being the stylistically advanced Tauroa (1916) and Craggy Range (1919) in Hawkes Bay.

William Henry Gummer (1884-1966) was articled to Auckland architect, W. A. Holman, and he qualified as an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1910. From 1908 to 1913 he travelled in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States, working during this time for Sir Edwin Lutyens in England and for Daniel Burnham in Chicago. He joined the firm of Hoggard and Prouse in 1913 where he became principal designer for the partnership which lasted until 1921. For part of this time he appears to have served with the NZEF in Suez. He returned to New Zealand in 1922 and formed Gummer and Ford with Charles Reginald Ford in 1923.

Charles Reginald Ford(1880 – 1972) was born in England. He served in the Royal Navy and was a member of Captain Scott’s 1901-1904 expedition to the Antarctic. Trained as an architect and an engineer, Ford wrote a book “Earthquakes and Building Construction” in 1926, and he was influential in setting standards for earthquake resistant construction in New Zealand. Ford brought his considerable skill as a business manager to the practice, a skill that complemented Gummer’s talent as a designer. The practice educated a number of young architects, the best known of which is F. Gordon Wilson, who became a junior partner before his appointment as chief architect of the Department of Housing Construction, and eventual role as Government Architect.

William Gummer was elected a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects in 1914, was president of the Institute from 1933- 34 and was later elected a life member. Charles Ford was a member of the Royal Geographical Society, a fellow of the Institution of Structural Engineers (UK), and president of the NZIA from 1921-1922.


Lochhead, Ian J. 'Gummer, William Henry', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 2-Oct-2013

Lowe, Peter. 'Ford, Charles Reginald', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 24-Sep-2013

The Work of William H. Gummer, Kieran J. Shanahan, B Arch Thesis, School of Architecture, University of Auckland, 1983.

WCC Heritage Inventory 2001


Last updated: 8/25/2015 2:36:18 AM