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AC HistoryHISTORYRANTING

1946 was an eventful year

By April 28, 2009July 11th, 20113 Comments

Of course everyone knows that the Arch Centre was born – no doubt on a dark and windy Wellington evening – on Tuesday the 23rd of July 1946 in the Baronia Lounge. Ian Calder, Graham Dawson, Helmet Einhorn, Rob Fantl, Charles Fearnley, John Gates, Graham Kofoed, Barry Martin, Geoff Nees, Ernst Plischke, David Porter, Fergus Shepherd, and Gordon Wilson were among the fourteen architects and fifteen students who gathered. Seven people apologised for their absence, including Cedric Firth and John Cox. There was a distinct shortage of women. The minutes are sparse, committees were elected (with Porter as inaugural Chair), and supper was served at 10.15pm.

But that wasn’t all. 1946 was a year of cultural endeavour in Wellington, New Zealand and the world. 1946 saw the beginning of the Film Society in Wellington, the founding of the National Orchestra, and a universal family benefit (from the 1st of April) for New Zealanders.  Mensa International also had its beginnings here – and so did Resene paints – possibly a little ironic given paint and Modernism haven’t always had an easy history.  I guess we can’t forget the Group in Auckland either – this was their beginning year too.

Benjamin Spock published his best seller The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (hello suburbia!), and the first electronic computer, the ENIAC, was designed by John Mauchly, and apparently weighed 30 tons.

Internationally both Bikini Atoll (as a sad note in nuclear history) and the bikini (named after the former) were invented. In fact it was generally a bad year for Iron Curtains, dictators in Argentina and Chinese Civil Wars … but on a more positive note: Earl Flosdorf invented freeze-dried foods,  …

… and Bell Laboratories invented the mobile telephone – texting would take a little longer!

The year also saw the nationalisations of the Bank of New Zealand and the Bank of England, and the first meeting of the UN General Assembly.  Other births include that of Daniel Libeskind, and Corb’s Unité d’Habitation (1946-1952), Mies’ Farnsworth House (1946-1950), and Neutra’s Kaufmann Desert House … and now one for Thomas – the 1946 Cisitalia 202 GT …

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