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date: 22 August 2019

Armson, William Barnettlocked

(b London, 1832 or 1833; d Christchurch, New Zealand, Feb 22, 1883).
  • J. N. Mané-Wheoki

Extract

(b London, 1832 or 1833; d Christchurch, New Zealand, Feb 22, 1883).

New Zealand architect of English birth. In 1862, after a lengthy apprenticeship in Melbourne, Australia, Armson arrived in New Zealand. He spent two years (1862–4) in the engineering department of the Otago provincial government, Dunedin, and from 1866 to 1870 he practised in Hokitika on the West Coast. Christchurch, where he finally settled in 1870, nurtured the most productive phase of his career. Inspired by Victorian London’s palazzo-style clubs and Venetian Gothic office blocks, Armson transformed the commercial heart of Christchurch. In Hereford Street alone he designed 12 substantial buildings, but only the Fisher Building (1880), a wedge-shaped structure in Italian Gothic, survives. Elsewhere in Christchurch the former Library (1875), Boys’ High School (1879), Girls’ High School (1880), Anderson’s Shops, Borough Hotel and Butterworth’s Warehouse (1881) demonstrate his versatility in handling historicist vocabularies, while the Loan and Mercantile Company’s Store (...

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