The Humphrey Hall House on Park Lane, was designed by its architect owner Humphrey Hall in 1938, shortly after his return from Europe where he had experienced first-hand the ideas of International Modernism - a new rational approach to architecture where decoration and styles of the past were rejected by a desire to create a new architecture that more reflected the modern world.
Hall's house is among New Zealand's first modernist houses, and it clearly shows the influence of the architect 'Le Corbusier' - the much celebrated Swiss/ French pioneer of modern architecture. Sitting prominently on its corner site the crisp white flat roofed cubic forms of the house employ many of the devices of Corbusier's modern architectural aesthetic. These include the use of slender columns (pilotis) to support the bedroom wing; the linear strip windows of the living room; the ocean liner motifs of its wave like entrance canopy and porthole windows on the front porch. Most radical of all was the open air garden terrace (since filled to accommodate additional bedroom space). The house was certainly a departure from the norm and must have raised a few eyebrows amongst the owners of the picturesque Arts & Craft styled houses of its neighbours.
Much published in leading literary and architectural journals the house continues to be a persuasive example of the heritage value of 20th Century modern buildings and Timaru is very fortunate to have such a significant piece of early modern architecture
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