"strident effects of instant sophistication": New Zealand architecture in the 1890s


  • Christine McCarthy




New Zealand Architecture - 1890s


Stacpoole and Beaven describe the late nineteenth-century work of New Zealand architects as "exuberant and eclectic, casting aside any earlier notions of simplicity to create strident effects of instant sophistication." It is a decade generally recognised in New Zealand history as an ambitious one and was a time of social and political experimentation and progress including "the entrepreneurial state ... liquor laws ... cheap land for development, [the] management of the effects of capitalism and competition ... an old age pension ... and the exclusion of aliens and undesirables." The 1890s also witnessed the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria (1897), the formation of the Farmers' Union (1899), and wool's establishment as New Zealand's singlemost important export. Sixty-five people were killed in the Brunner Mine disaster (1896), the population of the North Island exceeded that of the South Island for the first time since the 1850s, and the decade's end saw the outbreak of the Boer War (1899).


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How to Cite

McCarthy, C. (2007). "strident effects of instant sophistication": New Zealand architecture in the 1890s. Architectural History Aotearoa, 4, 1–5. https://doi.org/10.26686/aha.v4i.7303

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