R.A. Lawson: Victorian architect of Dunedin, by Norman Ledgerwood (Historic Cemeteries Conservation Trust, 2013), 256 pp., $74.99
New Zealand’s Lost Heritage: The stories behind our forgotten landmarks, by Richard Wolfe (New Holland, 2013), 192 pp., $49.99
Converted Houses: New Zealand architecture recycled, by Lucinda Diack, (Penguin, 2012), 207 pp., $65
On a Saturday Night: Community halls of small-town New Zealand, by Michele Frey and Sara Newman, photography by John Maillard and John O’Malley, (Canterbury University Press, 2012), 295 pp., $45
Athfield Architects, by Julia Gately, (Auckland University Press, 2013), 310 pp., $75
Now that central Christchurch has been characterised by a signature architecture of collapsed masonry, around which the quarrel about whither the Garden City? is as yet so much hot gravel shovelled into a void, the New Zealand city with the best claim to the finest extant chunk of Victoriana is Dunedin, and the most remarkable of the soaring spires at Dunedin’s stony core are the work of one architect: Robert Arthur Lawson (1833–1902).
In R.A. Lawson: Victorian architect of Dunedin, Norman Ledgerwood’s well-paced and nicely-illustrated monograph, which also has a succinct contextualising Foreword by Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, justice is done to Lawson’s vast oeuvre, following on from detective work by art historian Peter Entwisle which helped establish that Lawson was involved in designing about 445 building projects, mostly in Otago and Southland but also in Melbourne.