Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tennyson Chambers, Napier

Tennyson Chambers, NapierIn Art deco Napier: Styles of the thirties Peter Shaw writes that "... Tennyson Chambers originated in the offices of C T Natusch & Sons, but exterior detailing is unmistakably the work of Louis Hay's office."

Then in his book Louis Hay: Architect Shaw provides the proof with the inclusion of a drawing of the facade from the collection of Judd Fenwick Natusch dated November 1931 and executed by Arthur Milne, one of Hay's employees.

Apart from the colouring, the main difference I can see between Milne's watercolour and my 1999 photo is the rendering of the "Tennyson Chambers" name. The plan calls for a much more striking effect featuring bold stylish lettering and the year the chambers were constructed, 1932, in the gap between the two words.

The other decorative elements appear to be the same right down to the arrangement of inset tiles across the parapet.

Tennyson Chambers, Napier

For me the most striking feature are the geometric capitals on the columns. They are common of Hay's work on other Napier buildings such as Munster Chambers and his own offices in Herschell Street. Shaw makes the comparison of these elements in Hay's work and Frank Lloyd Wright's concrete decorations at Hollyhock House in Los Angeles built in 1920 for Aline Barnsdall. No doubt Wright was a major influence on Hay's work.

Tennyson Chambers, Napier

Art deco Napier: Styles of the thirties by Peter Shaw and Peter Hallett
Louis Hay: Architect by Peter Shaw

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