John Scott Works is a major new book and exhibition project on the work of the acclaimed architect John Scott. The project is a visual response to Scott’s work, capturing over more than twenty of his known and unknown buildings, it is in part a celebration of one of New Zealand’s most important architects and a timely and necessary acknowledgment not only of his work but also his place within a wider cultural context.
Scott once said, ‘When you come away from a building and feel pretty excited, not because of the building, but because of something that has gone on within you while you were in that building — then you are getting pretty close to architecture.’
This seems to me a perfect frame of reference for understanding John Scott’s buildings and has been the guiding principle for creating this work. I think of Scott’s work as a series of moments within one sculptural whole; a series of connected spaces, of opposites - of light and dark, open and intimate. There is an intangible quality to his work, a coalescence of light and space set against relatively humble materials that give them a certain presence.
At the centre of it all were people. He designed spaces with people at the heart, distinct rooms that alter between open, lofty heights and low, intimate nooks — they seem to reference mental states and instinctive human needs. His architecture was not about the monumental, or the ego, they are humane, immensely intelligent, and often exciting.