To complement the fragmentary approach taken in the exhibition Less than 5 per cent: Athfield’s First Church of Christ Scientist – Lynda Simmons will deliver an Ockham Lecture that layers further contexts and associations around the building. Rather than talk directly to or about this remarkable piece of architecture, she will talk around it, exploring the social ground from which such an object emerged.

The early 1980s in Aotearoa sat within a transition from an American-influenced counter-cultural movement (fused with the remnants of New Zealand Nationalism), to post-modernism. The work of Athfield Architects has given us some of the best architectural examples of both.

The term ‘Larrikin’ is well-documented in its attribution to Ian Athfield, and the practice’s shift into corporate projects could have been an uncomfortable development. This was managed through embracing the emerging global Post-Modern theories and styles of the era, and the First Church of Christ Scientist (1980-83) delights in its expression of both Larrikin and Po|Mo.

With the building now lost, its memory is even further fragmented and we try to hold on to the best parts. Through looking at the social, economic and cultural context that it emerged into and from, hopefully we recognise its legacy in the buildings we use today.

Lynda Simmons is active in three areas of the architecture profession: education, practice and advocacy. She is a Professional Teaching Fellow at the School of Architecture and Planning, Waipapa Taumata Rau University of Auckland. Lynda is an NZIA Fellow and has been a Registered Architect since 1989. Her architectural practice experience includes work in New York, Vancouver, London and mainly in Auckland, where she has run her own practice since 1997. She has maintained a connection and service to the profession and has acted as juror for, and been recipient of, NZIA and AAA architectural awards, and others. In 2011 Lynda co-founded the Architecture + Women NZ advocacy group and has an ongoing passion for research and community support in the area of equity and architecture. After eight years as Co-Chair, Lynda remains connected to the organisation as Policy Leader, Research Leader and Archivist.

The Ockham Lecture series is an annual programme of lectures and panel discussions across different themes that critically engage with craft, design and architecture. This programme is supported by Objectspace's Lead Partner Ockham Residential.


  • Free - Registrations Required


  • Wed 10 May


  • 5:30 pm — 7:30 pm


  • 13 Rose Road, Ponsonby
  • Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland