|Died||11 March 1993 (aged 85)|
Tibor Donner (19 September 1907 – 11 March 1993) was Chief Architect for the Auckland City Council from 1947-1967.
Tibor Karoly Donner was born in Szabadka, Austria-Hungary (now known as Subotica and part of Serbia), on 19 September 1907. He was the second child of Ladislaus Cornel Donner, an engineer, and Maria Donner née Kovats de Dalnok. He and his brother Cornel were brought up in the Lutheran faith of their father, and his sister Klara in the mother's Roman Catholic faith.
The family immigrated to New Zealand in 1927 aboard the SS Rimutaka. Donner studied architecture at Auckland University College and from 1935 until 1937 worked privately in the profession. In 1938 he joined the Public Works Department. He remained with the department until 1947 when he established the architectural office at the Auckland City Council. He was the council's Chief Architect until his retirement in 1967.
Donner married Margaret Bennett in 1934. The couple had one child, a daughter also called Margaret. Tibor Donner died at Auckland on 11 March 1993, survived by his wife and his daughter. His work left an enduring legacy to the people of Auckland.
Donner's designs incorporated styles from North and South America which were often reflective of high modernism. Although they were influenced by international architectural trends, their usage of local materials also gave them a distinctly New Zealand flavour. Notable structures by Donner include Auckland's Savage Memorial (1941), Avondale Military Hospital - later converted into the high school (1943), Khyber pump station (1947), Parnell Baths (1951–54) and the Auckland City Council's Administration Buildings (1954–60). They reflect the confidence of Auckland during its rapid expansion in the postwar era.
Donner's stylistic influences are particularly evident in the Auckland City Council Administration Building. The building draws significantly from the design principles espoused by Le Corbusier. Donner had visited New York City in 1956 to study Lever House and was aware of emerging contemporary styles (such as those of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe) but chose to reject them. It is significant that Donner had turned away from the more minimal contemporary style of building and the extensive use of glass, since this style is now very common in Auckland.
List of Works
|1937||Newmarket Post Office||[formerly located at 180 Broadway, Newmarket - demolished in 1999]|
|1941||Michael Joseph Savage Memorial|
|1943||Avondale Military Hospital (now Avondale College)|
|1947||Khyber Pump Station|
|1951||Auckland City Council Housing Developments||[various locations in Freemans Bay and Parnell]|
|1953-57||Vehicle Testing Station||[formerly located at 285 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn - now demolished]|
|1954-60||Administration Building (Greys Ave)|
|1958||Auckland Centennial Memorial||(Auckland Domain)|
|1959-61||Pioneer Women’s & Ellen Melville Memorial Hall|
|1960-61||Pt Erin Baths|
|1961-64||Victoria St Parking Building|
|1966||Glen Innes Public Library|
|1970||Green Bay Kindergarten|
Aside from his work for the Auckland City Council and the Public Works Department, Donner also designed several houses in the hills around Titirangi. His former house is located in Kohu Road, but he also designed several others in the surrounding area for his friends.
- "'Tibor Donner' (updated 20-Dec-2012)". New Zealand History Online. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
- Tsow, David (1 February 2013). "Skyscraper was ahead of its time". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- "DONNER, Tibor". Lost Property. Retrieved 18 September 2013.