Author(s): Tony Watkins
Thinking it through was originally published in Home and Building from 1988 to 1996 when Kirsty Robertson, then editor for “Home and Building” invited Tony Watkins, who had for many years been a contributor to the magazine, to begin a new column called simply, “Thinking it through”. She also invited Haruhiko Sameshima to contribute a photograph for each column. Haru had never met Tony. For each issue Tony sent an article to Haru and Haru replied with a photograph. Tony in turn responded to each photograph with another article in the next issue. This book is the story of that conversation between an author and a photographer. Tony Watkins’ multifaceted career includes architect, author, educator, activist among others. In his role as educator and through various organisations Tony has helped form local and global policy on sustainable development and architecture. He is one of the founders of International Architects Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility, initiator of Agenda 21, and the Peaceful Cities concept at the UN Habitat II Conference in Istanbul in 1996. As co-director of the International Union of Architects Sustainability Work Programme, representing more than 27 million architects globally, he advocated vernacular architecture which sustains the life of the planet and does no harm to stories, traditions, culture and place. Tony has also authored numerous books and articles including: “The Human House,” “Piglet the Great of Karaka Bay,” and “Vernacular – An architecture for the RMA and Agenda 21. This is a unique book featuring 46 essays that richly profile Tony’s accumulated philosophies on sustainability, architecture and environment, each illustrated by Haru’s photographs.
Tony Watkins has been described by John Walsh as “part Pan, part Diogenes, part Francis of Assisi”. For much of his life he has been at the global interface of architecture and the modern environmental movement. The Russian Institute of Architects flew him to Prague to be part of the Velvet Revolution. He was a keynote speaker in Argentina as the architects of the world prepared for the Earth Summit. He has represented New Zealand at numerous UIA Congresses. Along the way he needed to think beyond the daily concerns of a practice. This book draws together glimpses of that thinking.