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dc.contributor.advisorStocker, Mark
dc.contributor.advisorWaite, Noel
dc.contributor.authorFindlay, Michael James
dc.identifier.citationFindlay, M. J. (2011). Amyas Connell, ‘High and Over’ and the role of New Zealand architects in the British Modern Movement (Thesis, Master of Applied Science). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractMany of the architects that contributed to the British Modern Movement during the late 1920s and up to the start of the Second World War were of European origin. Less well described in the surveys of the period is the involvement of New Zealand-born architects. Amyas Connell (1901-1980) and Basil Ward (1902-1976) were successful in student competitions and studied at the British School in Rome before setting up in practice in London. They were joined by Englishman Colin Lucas (1906-1984) in 1934. Connell’s career in Britain began in 1928 with High and Over, a country house for the archeologist Bernard Ashmole (1894-1988). It is widely regarded as the first fully modernist building by a British architect. The first part of the study focuses on the links between New Zealand and British architectural culture at the end of the First World War, through which New Zealanders first achieved a presence in the profession. These contacts include Connell’s first partner, Stewart Lloyd Thomson (1902-1990) who has been omitted from the narrative on Connell’s early career. The following section investigates how British modern architecture between the wars became open to New Zealand architects who achieved a prominence within it that has not been duplicated before or since. This section explores the dynamics of New Zealand involvement in a highly visible area of the arts against the background of simultaneously belonging and not belonging to British society. The third section focuses on the critical reception for High and Over as it became the focus for a long lasting debate on the nature of modernist architecture in Britain. Connell’s intention was to fuse aspects of Roman and neo-classical planning with the construction methods and aesthetics of European modernism. The house was a part of a larger project that included a garden and related structures including a lodge, water tower and transformer building; and a group of speculative houses. The significance of High and Over to British architecture has been acknowledged but the wider scheme of which it is part has not been fully surveyed. Partial analysis of the project and lingering critical uncertainty about its meaning have left many gaps in the scholarship around High and Over. The concluding chapters survey the critical response ii to High and Over across the past eighty years and offers an alternative to the functionalist and formalist analysis that has been applied in the past. The design history narrative is informed by social history with a focus on backgrounds of architect and client, as well as the structures and systems of the architectural profession in both countries. The research avoids a substantial retelling of the emergence of Modernism in Britain except where it directly concerns Connell. The conclusion asserts Connell’s major achievement in designing and overseeing an early example of Modernist architecture that was conceived at the same time as key buildings including Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye and Mies Van Der Rohe’s German Pavilion at the Barcelona Exhibition. It offers a new interpretation of Connell’s intentions and the meanings generated by the project that counter the established critical evaluation of compromise and indecision.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
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dc.subjectAmyas Connell
dc.subjectModernist architecture
dc.subjectArchitectural education
dc.subjectBritish School at Rome
dc.subjectNew Zealand architecture
dc.titleAmyas Connell, 'High and Over' and the role of New Zealand architects in the British Modern Movement
dc.typeThesis of Applied Sciences of Applied Sciencesen_NZ of Applied Science of Otago Theses
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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