James Augustus Louis Hay was a prominent New Zealand architect who was responsible for several Art Deco buildings during the reconstruction of Napier following a catastrophic earthquake in 1931.
Louis Hay moved from Akaroa to Napier in 1895, after leaving Napier Boys' High School he worked for Charles Tilleard Natusch's architectural practice. His later work was influenced by his time spent with Natusch. Apart from one trip to Australia, Hay never left New Zealand but had a distinct interest in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements.
Architecture and Influence
During the early part of the 20th Century Hay established his own architecture practice, working in the Hawke's Bay region on residential projects.
After the 1931 earthquake, Hay's wife was severely injured, Hay joined the Napier Reconstruction Committee helping in the rebuilding of the city. His role ensured local architects had control over the rebuilding as opposed to architects from other regions.
Hay's most famous building is the National Tobacco Company Building which combines European Art Deco with local Art Nouveau ornamentation.
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