Breton PENMAN (b. 1927-)

Lost Property is currently researching Bret Penman.

Member of Group Construction and Group Architects until 1954 before travelling through Australia and Japan to Hong Kong where he gained work with Eric Cumine. Worked on many major projects including the first Hong Kong airport, eventually running the practice. Returned to New Zealand in recent years.

Penman’s father had fronted the finance for development of the Groups ‘First’ house in Northboro Ave. Other work followed including a design for a triangular house in Bute St for the McColls (unbuilt) as well as several houses in Meadowbank before leaving New Zealand ( see; Campbell Craig/ Group page).

Cunningham House: (Penman/Wilson)

The first Cunningham house was part of a group built on a hillside in Meadowbank (1951-54).Lead architect was Bret Penman but Bill Wilson is generally acknowledged as designer of this house. The ‘Home & Building’ article from Nov 1958 titled “A house is a home not a public monument” details how the house was built by ametuers on weekends and that workmanship and details might not have been as fine as could have been, but ” the house as a whole overrides these minor flaws and they are completely lost in the success of the whole”.

Like many of this periods designs, the house is a long mono-pitch structure with a hall running almost the full length, incorporating a galley kitchen behind the bedrooms and living area’s facing the distant city. The bedrooms and living room all open to the full length deck, which was originally divided by glass screens. Panelled throughout in native plywoods the house has a golden warmth added too by the mass of full length glass windows and doors. The courtyard area behind the house is partially glazed and acts as another living area during most of the year – while the previous storage area below the house has been turned into an office / spare bedroom…

If you have any information about this architect, please let me know via the contact page.