Aotearoa New Zealand practice Irving Smith builds with the land, not on it. Their projects open up, condense, focus, and interpret both the natural and the human-made settings of the ‘far far away’, where they live. These architects see their practice, research and teaching, based in the small town of Whakatū-Nelson on Aotearoa-New Zealand’s South Island, as an adventure. Unfinished and Far Far Away traces their internationally-awarded approach of participating with existing landscapes before generating new contexts. Ten projects across a range of scales, typologies and landscapes show how these architects articulate wood and other local materials to create beautiful homes, places to work, and sites to play. Irving Smith see their work as never finished, but always opening itself up to new ways to question how we can continue to live and thrive in these sites.
Ten essays by architects, critics and educators then further a discussion on global peripheries and to how architecture benefits from the continued study and interpretation of multiple contexts. Editor Aaron Betsky, Irving Smith’s Andrew Irving and Jeremy Smith, Marlon Blackwell and Jonathan Boelkins, Neelkanth Chhaya, Shane O’Toole, Peter Rich, and Aotearoa New Zealand’s Julie Stout, Chris Barton, Andrew Barrie and Julia Gatley add their contributions, offering perspectives from the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania. The projects are shown in multiple photographs by Patrick Reynolds, which are accompanied by drawings, process models, and other material that exhibit Irving Smith’s particular ability to work with their communities and surroundings.