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ARCHITECTURE in Harmony with the surroundings has marked the illustrious career of Fritz Eisenhofer; his designs are of simple shape and construction, open plan, with the elimination of waste space and the economical use of building materials. The hills of Wellington, windswept with wondrous views responded to his European perspective, with some more adventurous clients agreeable to the idea of incorporating interior gardens and pools covered by sliding glass roofs which could be opened on calm days.
Wellington saw many changes in the cultural life of the city during the sixties, Milk bars gave way to more sophisticated restaurants and coffee bars, and retail shops were created with exciting new frontages. Fritz Eisenhofer and his partner at that time, Erwin Winkler, were involved in many of these new ventures, including Chez Lilly, Suzy’s Coffee Bar, The Matterhorn with it’s outside courtyard, Ann Barri shoe shop, Thomsons Silk Shop, numerous London Bookshops and Nova Interiors. Emphasis was placed on making each shop front individualized and recognizable; they therefore created and produced their own artistic features which included sculpture, graffito, and free form Ferro cement shells. Fritz Eisenhofer continues to create freeform shapes and sculpture today. At that time the choice of furniture and fittings was limited so they designed chairs, tables, lamps and other fittings which were manufactured locally.
The distinctive soaring tower of the International Award winning Whenua Tapu Chapel and Crematorium is an eye catching land mark situated off Highway one. The aesthetic intention behind the curved outer wall which emerges from the ground and flows upwards into a spiral was to symbolise the link between earth and heaven, a concept close to most religions and Maori mythology. The use of reflective light, internal gardens and large windows overlooking the native planting gives a feeling of peace and tranquility.
Solar gain has always been an important factor in his design of homes from the beginning of his work in New Zealand in the 1950s. The use of structural joinery made it possible to create economically large glazed floor to ceiling areas, which are oriented towards the sun for maximum solar gain. In the summer months a generous roof overhang prevents the rooms from overheating.
The Eco Building, earth sheltered, incorporating annual heat storage principles, has come to life in his present home, a collection of domes for a new century, which incorporates waterfalls, pools, and indoor planting which creates a living environment. Described in London’s “Independent on Sunday” in April 2005 as a little-known visionary Architect who is responsible for the “most daring designs ever to make it off the drawing board”.
Fritz Eisenhofer is still excited by house design for all clients, emphasis is placed on keeping costs within budget, and incorporating energy efficiency by adopting passive to active solar principles. .
Solemer on the beachfront at Peka Peka is the focus of his work at the present time; sketch plans have been prepared for these sites with each house plan designed to make the most of sun and view. Especial care has been taken to gain maximum solar gain and to ensure that each house has privacy.