Gummer and Ford

Gummer and Ford was an architectural firm founded in 1923 in Auckland, New Zealand, by William Henry Gummer and Charles Reginald Ford. It was among the country's best-regarded architectural firm of the first half of the 20th century, designing numerous iconic buildings, including the former National Art Gallery and Dominion Museum in Wellington and the old Auckland Railway Station. Eighteen of the company's buildings have been registered as significant historic places by Heritage New Zealand.[1] In 2006 an exhibition of their work was staged at The University of Auckland's Gus Fisher Gallery, and in 2007 the firm was described as 'the best architectural practice of all time in New Zealand'.[2]

Gummer and Ford
Practice information
Key architectsWilliam Henry Gummer, Charles Reginald Ford
Significant works and honors
BuildingsNew Zealand National Art Gallery and Dominion Museum, Dilworth Building, Auckland Railway Station, Remuera Public Library
ProjectsNew Zealand National War Memorial, Christchurch Bridge of Remembrance, Dunedin Cenotaph
AwardsNZIA Gold Medals

When the partnership was established, Gummer was already a highly successful architect. In his early 20s he had travelled to England and there worked for Leonard Stokes and Edwin Lutyens. The latter architect, later known mostly for his memorial designs, 'profoundly influenced' Gummer[3] He was placed third in a 1911 competition to design Parliament Buildings in London. After returning to New Zealand in 1914 he designed several well-regarded buildings including the New Zealand Insurance office in Auckland and the State Fire Insurance building in Wellington.

The partnership between the two men was highly productive. Gummer's biographer in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography attributes this to their complementary skills and personalities. Ford concentrated primarily on managing the practice and dealing with clients, although he also did some design work. Amongst the firm's early successes were Auckland's Dilworth Building, and the Auckland Railway Station, awarded a New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) gold medal in 1931. The firm had earlier won a gold medal for the Remuera Public Library in 1928.

Gummer and Ford designed numerous war memorials, including the New Zealand National War Memorial in Wellington, the Christchurch Bridge of Remembrance and the Dunedin Cenotaph. Gummer's school buildings include St Peter's College, Auckland (1939). They designed the Massey Memorial.

Gummer was responsible for virtually all of the firm's iconic buildings but Ford also contributed significantly to New Zealand architecture and building through his book Earthquakes and Building Construction. He was also influential in the establishment of earthquake safety standards in New Zealand after the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake, and the establishment of a Chair of Architecture at Auckland University.[4]

Both Gummer and Ford were at various times president of the NZIA.

List of Notable Works

1916–1928Auckland Winter GardensDomain Drive, Grafton
1925Remuera Library429 Remuera Road, Remuera
1925Dilworth Trust BuildingCnr. Queen Street & Customs Street, Auckland CBD
1924–58Pearson House, Jubilee Institute for the Blind10 Titoki Street, Newmarket
1927Auckland Railway Station132–148 Beach Road, Auckland CBD
1928Mayfair Flats75 Parnell Road, Parnell
1928–30Dingwall Orphanage8 Dingwall Place, Papatoetoe
1931–43St. Peters College23 Mountain Road, Grafton
1934–35Dingwall Trust Building87–93 Queen Street, Auckland CBD
1935Elliot Memorial GatesPark Road, Grafton
1935Good Shepherd Home for GirlsCnr. Dominion Road & Hillsborough

Road, Waikowhai

1952Auckland Grammar School Old Boy's War Memorial87 Mountain Road, Epsom
1952–53Cornwall Park StepsOlive Grove, Greenlane
1953Mangere Memorial Hall23 Domain Road, Mangere
1955–57St Mary's Catholic Church20 Kitenui Ave, Mt Albert
1961Liston House30–32 Hobson Street, Auckland CBD
1962ANZ Bank149 Upper Symonds Street, Auckland CBD (and various other locations)



  • "Photo of Mr Gummer (top) and Mr Ford". The New Zealand Herald. 28 August 1926 via Papers Past.
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