The classical architecture of ancient Greece set high standards in formal composition, using simple elements to express power, elegance and confidence.
The Romans added the arch to their vocabulary – and curves in general - to further enrich classical forms, creating an architectural pattern book to last for centuries.
Following the middle ages where the Gothic movement held sway, the Renaissance period saw architects in northern Europe returning to the classical models of Greece and Italy. Civic buildings of any significance relied upon these sources of inspiration right through to the early 2oth century.
The civic buildings of the Timaru Borough Council began with the Public Library on the corner of King George Place and Latter St (1908), and progressed eastwards shortly after. The former library and the main body of the Council building have matching façades – clearly harking from Italy with variations common in public buildings in the UK.
The materials chosen are weighty Timaru bluestone for the foundation plinth with lighter, softer limestone above. One sees the same layers of contrasting stonework in the Auckland Town Hall.
The original sections of the Council building were designed by Timaru architect Walter Panton, crowned by the art deco inspired clock tower designed by his son Victor in 1934.
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