Houses

While working under Professor Beresford Pite and later with the London City Council, Hooper had the opportunity to meet and learn from many proponents of the Arts and Crafts style of architecture that shaped his life’s work. Hooper’s belief in Arts and Crafts did not only manifest in his buildings, but also in his extensive writings about architecture and his interest in improving housing for worker’s families.

Unlike some Arts and Crafts architects, Hooper felt ‘a little ornament is a good thing…’ as long as it was appropriately scaled and the outcome of this belief is clearly visible in many of his designs. Hooper used a number of decorative motifs throughout his career that – along with certain particulars of planning – are used to identify Hooper’s work around New Zealand.

Common Hooper decorative motifs include diamond shapes- as either windows or decoration constructed from bricks, ‘eyebrows’- curved lids above windows and doors and ornate details built into the construction of functional elements such as pillars and gutter brackets. Hooper’s foremost non-decorative motif is the diagonal bay, a set of windows rectangular or five sided in plan that were placed across a prominent corner of a house. Many of Hooper’s houses also contain a semi-circular bow window. Another of Hooper’s hallmarks and something he was explicit about in his writings are fanlight and casement windows of a proportion of 2:3. For Hooper, windows could not be wider than they were high, though this is a rule he occasionally broke himself.

An impressively prolific architect, Hooper designing and remodelling over 150 private and public buildings during his working career. 1914 was especially busy with 22 of his known commissions produced in this year alone. Hooper’s style progressed and changed with the times although he was not convinced by the modern styles of the 1930s. He adopted a simplified Georgian cottage style for his later houses in Auckland which still bear the familiar motifs of corner bays and bull’s eye windows.

Ritchie residence, Herriot Row, Dunedin. 1911

Ritchie residence, Herriot Row, Dunedin. 1911

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