Gordon Wilson

b. 1900d. 1959

Also known as:

  • Francis Gordon Wilson

Gordon Wilson, and his brother Leslie, were born in Western Australia but the family moved to Aotearoa in 1903. Wilson's father returned to Australia, leaving Mary, his mother to raise two boys.

Initially training as an architect in Wellington though 'articles' Wilson completed his studies at Auckland University College School of Architecture. In 1923, having passed his professional exams and travelled in the USA, Wilson was made associate partner in the firm Gummer and Ford, where he had worked since 1921.

In 1936 Wilson transferred to the public service becoming chief architect for the Department of Housing Construction. This became the Housing Division of the Ministry of Works in 1943. In 1948 he was appointed Assistant Government Architect and was promoted to Government Architect in 1952. A position he held till his death in 1959.

Wilson was an active part of the building programme of the First Labour Government (1936-1949). He was seminal in employing European emigre architects fleeing WWII and, with them, disseminating the ideas and forms of Modern Architecture in Aotearoa.

In 2022 the Gordon Wilson Fellowship in Public Housing was launched by the descendants of Gordon Wilson and the NZIA.

See also Te Ara Encyclopaedia of New Zealand biography