Thanks to Natasha Laidlaw and the Horowhenua Chronicle for writing and publishing this article, and as a fantastic result we have already uncovered the missing house that Bernard Johns had designed in 1975!
The real bonus was that I was contacted tonight by another reader who had commissioned Bernard to design the entrance gate to their property, which incorporated their family crest. I hope to get up there soon to take photos – perhaps that’s an assignment for Ted Hughes.
If anyone else knows of any more Bernard Johns designs, please contact Darin on either:
I am an experienced primary school teacher and for many years I have specialised in working with students with special teaching needs. I have a passion for words and language (my partner would say obsession), as well as social justice and animal rights. I grew up in Tauranga, and now live with my partner and daughter in Dunedin. I enjoyed proof-reading Bernard Winton Johns – Five Decades of His Architecture, and hope that others will find my services helpful.
Graduate Diploma in the Education of Students with Special Teaching Needs Canterbury University, 2012
Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Primary) Auckland Unitec, 2004
Bachelor of Social Sciences, Double Major in Psychology and Sociology Waikato University, 1991
Other Training & Education
NZ Sign Language, Adult Education, Dunedin and Tauranga, 2014
Te Ara Reo Maori (Level 1), Te Wananga o Aotearoa, Tauranga, 2004
Note-taking for the Deaf, Kelston Deaf Education Centre, Auckland, 1994
We received this wonderful email from Mr C. Reed of Wellington recently and felt we had to share it with our audience and fans:
I saw the book about Bernard Johns advertised in the Wellington College magazine (I am an old boy) and obtained a copy. I have recently finished reading it – a great read – and noticed the request for information about other buildings designed by Bernard.
In 1947 or 1948 my parents bought the house at 8 Lemnos Avenue from Walter Norwood and we shifted from our then home at 34 Morehouse Avenue in Wadestown where we had lived throughout World War II. Actually, we swapped houses with the Norwood’s with some monetary adjustment being made.
My father turned the attached garage at 8 Lemnos Avenue into a home theatre and built three garages on the front boundary, rather spoiling the look of the property, I thought. However the garage was a very practical addition for the family as we had three cars.
I lived in the Lemnos Avenue house until I married in 1961. I was fascinated by the design of the Lemnos house so, in 1960, I approached Bernard to enquire if he would design a house for my wife and I and he agreed to do this.
I had obtained a section at 16 Chamberlain Road, Karori. It had previously been a tennis court belonging to the people who lived at 14 Chamberlain Road. Bernard designed and supervised the erection of a modest little house for my wife and I. It was completed towards the end of 1961. It had three bedrooms, lounge, dining room, extensive entranceway, hall and stairs, a kitchen, laundry, double garage and workshop. Two rooms featured bay windows. Most rooms had built in fittings including a marble fireplace with extensive shelves and a wall of cupboards and bookcases in the lounge, a very large china cabinet in the dining room, extensive cupboards and draws in the kitchen, laundry and main bedroom.
The house was built by H. J. Buck who lived in an adjoining house at the back of the property – a back section off Parkvale Road. Today, the house cannot be seen very well from the road as there is extensive vegetation blocking the view.
We were delighted with our home and only moved out when our forth child arrived leaving us insufficient sleeping space.
We got to know and respect Bernard over a period of more than a year and often think of the times we spent together designing and building our first home.
It was an attentive group of people who gathered in Wanaka Two at the Dunedin Town Hall to hear Darin and Virginia present their workshop, describing the two year journey of intense research that culminated with the published book “Bernard Winton Johns – Five Decades of His Architecture”.
It was a privilege to have Kaumatua Edward Ellison formally welcome and introduce Darin and Virginia to the audience before they started their presentation.
Many areas of the team’s journey were covered, such as the in-depth research in libraries, university archives and council records as well as online tips and tricks with various search engines and websites. Interviewing techniques, budgets, overcoming road blocks and record keeping were amongst the topics covered. And some great questions were answered in the Q & A session that followed.
Arapata Reuben from the Ngai Tahu Whakapapa unit also contributed and updated the audience on their innovative latest work which will be rolled out to fellow Ngai Tahu over the next couple of years.
After a manic couple of weeks gathering the last of the equipment, organising catering, sending out final reminders, liaising with the wonderful Professors Robert and Brenda Vale at Victoria University School of Architecture, arranging transport and accommodation for the out of town authors (Ann in Waiheke and Mark in Dunedin) and checking the books that arrived, the big day dawned and what a fantastic turn out!
A wonderful welcome from Robert and Brenda Vale, a thank you for all the assistance in the research and from the home-owners for allowing us inside their homes from Darin the Bach Doctor and a great talk from Mark the author on Bernard’s life and work while a 450+ slideshow showcasing many of the homes and features along the way played on the screen.
Many people stayed on in the lecture theatre to watch the slideshow, while others thronged the book sale table, mingled with past and current home owners and took refreshments at the buffet table. We discovered that many people had travelled from all over the country to attend the book launch, places as diverse as Cambridge, Wanganui, Levin, Auckland, Invercargill, Kapiti Coast and the Wairarapa as well as many local Wellingtonians.
All too soon the launch was over, but we have all enjoyed the journey of research and meeting so many wonderful people along the way – thanks to you all for making it a wonderful experience.