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The big OE

“Once I graduated it was back to Wellington. To help ease the path at university I had signed on for a cadetship with what was then the Ministry of Works. That meant I was bonded to the Ministry for four years after I obtained my degree. I lasted six months!” Deciding the Ministry was “not the right environment for me,” Ian instead paid off his bond and went to work for the Wellington architects Gabites Beard, Alington and Edmondson. During his tenure there the firm was involved in several notable projects which Ian was also part of. “One of the partners (Bill Alington) designed the Upper Hutt Civic Centre offices and Massey University halls of residence at the time, and I was lucky to have him as a mentor.” That was a great two years, says Ian, but by then he’d also developed the travel bug. “I was flatting with an English friend and we were both captivated by South America so off we went. We spent three months bumming our way through South America and the West Indies enroute to London.” Backpacking at the time was still relatively new and many of the places they visited had not yet become regular tourist meccas. “We found and hiked the Machu Picchu Trail, for instance, before it became known to tourists. We climbed over 14,000 ft passes, camped amongst old Inca ruins and didn’t see a single other person in four days on the trail! It was simply amazing.” Once in London Ian found a flat and a job with a firm of architects, and met his wife-to-be Pam. “She was looking for a flatmate, and I turned up. I think I was selected from 15 applicants because I said I could fix the leaking taps.” London in those days was “like suddenly arriving on a Monopoly board”. The excitement soon wore off however and after six to eight months wanderlust set in again so Ian approached the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and asked if they had any suitable overseas postings available. “They did and it was in Bermuda so that’s where Pam and I headed.” The couple married in Bermuda and found “a nice little slave cottage” to rent. It was, says Ian, an idyllic lifestyle: a friendly ex-pat community, perfect climate, two good incomes and no income tax. “We managed to live on one income and saved the other.” While Bermuda was a great lifestyle for a couple of years, Ian had always aspired to own his own architecture practice and he had always planned to do that back in New Zealand. The time was right to head back home.

of the projects he undertook were Council jobs. Among those early projects were parks and reserves amenities buildings including a pair of pavilions for Nelson’s Botanic Reserve. “When I presented the plans to Nelson City Council I was told by one vociferous councillor that they were only fit for the rubbish bin. I decided then and there that my architecture career would long outlast his Council one.” Nevertheless, the Council adopted the plans and the pavilions still stand today. “I’ve enjoyed a long and happy relationship with Council since then,” says Ian. Two years after arriving in Nelson, he notched up a first for the region, building a pole house overlooking The Cut. The year was 1976, and it was his own residence, a first own home for himself, Pam and their family-to-be. Ian designed it and naturally helped build it.

Who: Ian Jack What: Award-winning architect Favourite music/CD: Esbjorn Svensson Trio (EST) A book I really enjoyed: The Worst Journey in the World, by Apsley Cherry-Garrard Favourite food: Fresh fish off the BBQ Favourite travel destination: Utah Favourite outdoor activity: Annual tramping with old friends Favourite form of relaxation: A day’s fishing in the Sounds

Nelson beckons

Still in Bermuda, Ian wrote to architect firms in various New Zealand areas, finally accepting an offer from Nelson firm Rotman White & Hay, arriving in 1974 to the province he now calls home. “They had a big backlog of work and I was familiar with Nelson,” he explains. “I spent many of my school holidays exploring the region. I had an uncle, Ernest Farquhar, who lived at Tahunanui and I was a regular visitor. From those early visits Ian developed a life-long love of the Nelson/Marlborough outdoors and associated activities, tramping in the Nelson Lakes National Park and Kahurangi mountains with friends, exploring the back country long before cycle trails were invented, and learning to appreciate what nature has gifted the Top of the South. Despite his past architectural experience he was still “young and green and feeling my way” when he arrived in Nelson. Some

Set in a new subdivision in Malcolm Place, the house had a prickly start. “The sections were $20,000, which in those days was an horrendous price. They were all overgrown with gorse and scrub. I brought my slasher and hacked my way through to the top of the cliff overlooking The Cut. Then I saw the view. I loved it… it still inspires me every day.” When the 1000 square metre section was still for sale six months later Ian and Pam put in a cheeky offer and bought it for $13,300. He then set about designing and building what was the first stage of their home. Two sons, several expansions and a few decades later they still enjoy living there, although Ian admits in hindsight that if he had to do it again he would make some changes. It was intended as a three-year stepping stone at the time. “I didn’t dream that we would still be in the house 40 years later. I didn’t do a master plan, which would have been helpful.” 33

Profile for WildTomato

Wild Tomato June 2016  

WildTomato is Nelson & Marlborough's magazine. We focus on inspiring journalism, stunning photography and beautiful design. www.wildtomato.c...

Wild Tomato June 2016  

WildTomato is Nelson & Marlborough's magazine. We focus on inspiring journalism, stunning photography and beautiful design. www.wildtomato.c...