Architect Gerald Melling dies

SOPHIE SPEER
Last updated 14:24 05/01/2013
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ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAXNZ
Architect Gerald Melling died at his home on December 22.

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Architect Gerald Melling, known for his inner-city home The Skybox on Egmont St, has died.

The maverick architect’s style was seen as controversial and at odds with the ideas held by the architectural establishment.

In 1990 he formed Melling Morse Architects along with Allan Morse, and the pair worked on recognisable public and private buildings including the redevelopment of Left Bank Arcade, Auckland’s Butterfly Creek and Melling’s own home The Skybox, which sits atop the Melling Morse Architects office in Egmont St.

Melling was born in Liverpool in 1943. He discovered an interest in art and writing from a young age before choosing architecture as a creative outlet as well as a way to make a living.

He worked in New York and Toronto and emigrated to New Zealand in the 1960s to work for the then Ministry of Works in Porirua.

He believed low cost housing did not have to be drab and dull, but instead could be innovative and inspirational.

In 2010, he told The Dominion Post: ‘‘I wanted to show that architects could work on a modest level. I love architecture, but not the profession. How professional is it to turn away someone with $300,000 and say, ‘I can’t work with you unless you have $800,000’.’’

Following the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004, he designed almost 50 houses and a community centre along the south coast of Sri Lanka, eventually writing a book called Tsunami Box about his experiences.

He died at home with his family on December 22.

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