Leaders, Lecturers & Tour Managers

John Walsh

John Walsh is a leading New Zealand architecture writer. From 2011 to 2020 he was Communications Director of Te Kahui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) and before that was editor of Architecture New Zealand magazine and managing editor of a stable of design magazines including Urbis, Houses NZ and Landscape Architecture New Zealand.

He is the author of four books on New Zealand residential architecture: New New Zealand Houses (Random House, 2007), Home Work: Leading New Zealand Architects’ Own Houses (Random House, 2010), Big House, Small House (Random House, 2012), and City House, Country House (Penguin Random House, 2017). His other books include Saint Andrew’s College Centennial Chapel (Architectus, 2018), and two city guides: Auckland Architecture: A Walking Guide (Massey University Press, 2019) and Christchurch Architecture: A Walking Guide (Massey University Press, 2020).

John was closely involved with New Zealand’s national exhibitions at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2014 and 2016. He edited the catalogues for both exhibitions, Last, Loneliest, Loveliest (2014), and Future Islands (2016), and a book recounting the experience of those exhibitions, Far Pavilion: New Zealand at the Venice Architecture Biennale (New Zealand Institute of Architects, 2017). For the NZIA he also edited a series of monographs on architects awarded the Institute’s Gold Medal: Pip Cheshire (2013); Patrick Clifford (2014); Stuart Gardyne (2015); Roger Walker (2016); Andrew Patterson (2017); and Jeremy Salmond (2018). For Auckland’s Lopdell Trust he produced a booklet (2019) on the early twentieth century architect and aviator William Bloomfield.

In 2015 John edited Did You Mean to Do That? (New Zealand Architectural Publications Trust), a collection of work by New Zealand architectural cartoonist Malcolm Walker. That year he also instituted an annual architectural essay competition, and for five years edited the accompanying compilation booklet, 10 Stories: Writing about Architecture, Vols 1–5. He has contributed to a wide variety of design and current affairs publications, including Topos, Sri Lanka Architect, The New Zealand Listener, The New Zealand Herald, Home NZ, and Here.

He curated the programme for the NZIA’s international conference which since 2015 has attracted such notable speakers as Sir David Adjaye (UK), Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey (Ireland), Reinier de Graaf (Netherlands), Vo Trong Nghia (Vietnam), Benedetta Tagliabue (Spain), Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichausen (Chile) and Kunlé Adeyemi (Nigeria).

John served as a judge at the 2008 World Architecture Festival and in 2015 accompanied a tour of architecture students to Sri Lanka, producing a small book about the trip (Slave Island Study, Unitec Department of Architecture). He has, he says, chaperoned more New Zealand Architecture Awards jury tours than he cares to remember.

John is a graduate of the University of Auckland and the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, New York. He lives in the old Auckland inner-city suburb of Freemans Bay with his wife, who is Head of Documentary Heritage at Tamaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum, and his son, who attends the local high school.

  • John Walsh is the author of four books (with photographer Patrick Reynolds) on New Zealand residential architecture: New New Zealand HousesHome WorkBig House Small House and City House Country House. Other recent books include St Andrew’s College Centennial Chapel and Far Pavilions: New Zealand at the Venice Architecture Biennale.