Auckland Radio - 
Architectural Description

 

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The Music Memorial Radio Station is a concrete building in the modern style. At the time of its construction (by D C Street Construction Ltd., Hamilton) it was likened to the forepart of an aero plane with two single storied wings on either side of a tall tower. The driveway and grounds represented the jet stream of an aircraft. The Transmitting Station at Oliver Road continued this theme. A two – storied, streamlined bay with generous windows represented the aircraft’s nose. The building is approached from the southern side via a formal driveway dominated by the tower. The vertical aspect of the tower is emphasized by a tall narrow bay of windows extending for the two of the three floors above the centrally located entrance.

 The main entrance opens into a small memorial hall approximately five metres square. Although this area serves as a central lobby, the heights and symmetry of the hall bestows a form of dignity befitting its function as a memorial. The eastern and western walls bear an American Eagle in plaster relief and a bronze plaque.   A corridor runs from the memorial hall along the south side of each of the wings. The western wing was originally staff quarters. The eastern wing accommodates a work room and emergency generator room.

 The main operations rooms were originally housed on both floors of the building’s curved northern section overlooking the sea. Administrative accommodation for superintendent and supervisor on both floors was divided from the main operations room by a low wall; however, this space was later formalised by internal partition walls. The flat-roofed areas of the streamlined bay and wing sections provide a promenade.

The influences of the Modern style, with its commitment to the aesthetics of the machine age are evident not only in the building shape but also in details such as metal framed windows divided by metal sash bars and door catches.  A circular window also occurs on the external wall each side of the second floor operations room. Circular windows with their nautical associations were an appropriate motif for a building from which amphibious flying boats were guided.

 The Oliver Road transmitting site was one of the two essential components to the Musick Memorial Radio Station complex, the other being the receiving station. One could not operate without the other. To this end, the transmitting station was built in the same Modern décor. The transmitting station was located three miles back along the point from the main building. It housed 18 transmitting sets in 1946 and the largest had a power of three kilowatts, while the smallest was 100 watts. The transmitters had a selection of 29 aerials spread over an area of 35 acres. Miles of underground cables connected the transmitters with the main building. The area of the transmitting site covered what is now the Ocean Point sub-division, existing transmitting paddock and the playing fields at Maclean’s College 

 The transmitting station comprised a main transmitting hall (approx.17 metres by 13 metres) an engine room (approx. 4 metres by 3 metres) a technician’s workshop (approx. 5 metres by 3 metres) Kitchen, storage room and toilet facilities.

 ARCHITECTURAL QUALITY
The Music Point Memorial Building and Transmitting Building express modern life in an ‘aesthetic’, which was developed by the movement architects in Europe such as Gropius and Corbusier.

 These modern architects based their architectural forms on the products and methods of industrial technology, the ship, aeroplane and car, so that buildings too could be in context with modern life. The two buildings are very representations of their type. They are good examples in the New Zealand context, which adds to their importance as a regional asset.

 The Musick Memorial Radio Station,  has been little altered and retains its architectural integrity and memorial function. Designed and constructed when the international industry was in its infancy, the building is a fitting tribute to American aviator Edwin Musick and his crew.


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