Napier reminds me of what I imagine Los Angeles to have looked like in 1940, a mission style art deco with a pleasing climate near the sea. In an earlier post I talked about the earthquake that destroyed Napier New Zealand. The city that rose from the rubble was a unified art deco city. (See post of the earthquake). It’s the city’s main appeal to visitors today. The city not only had deco buildings but celebrates deco design in its Art Deco Center and museum (there is a current traveling exhibition on Art Deco Kimonos from Japan in the 1930s.) Street banners reflect the style and cars from the 1930s driven by flappers and dapper men in straw boaters evoking Jay Gatsby drive them. (see post on Napier Antique Cars.) One strange feature of Naiper is that it is NOT on the UNESCO world heritage sites. They applied and were turned down. I would love the see the paperwork on that one. One interesting feature of Art Deco architecture is that buildings on street corners “cut the corner.” I have noticed this before but never knew its practical reason. This was a design for safety, to allow automobiles to better see around corners to spot cross traffic.
You can see more of the Deco influence in the post on The Waiapu Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.