W. Gray Young

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William Gray Young (21 June 1885 – 21 April 1962) was a New Zealand architect in the early 20th century, designing buildings such as Knox College (Dunedin), Turnbull House and Elliott House (both Wellington). He was president of the New Zealand Institute of Architects in 1935-6.


Born in Oamaru, the son of a Scottish watchmaker and jewellery retailer, he moved with his family to Wellington in the 1890s. He attended the Terrace School and Wellington College, and went on to be articled to the architects Crichton and McKay. He won the competition for Knox College in Dunedin in 1906 when he was only 21 and became an associate of the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) in 1907. He had a succession of partners and a busy practice from 1913. He was judged unfit for military service in the First World War and continued in practice through it. With John Swan he designed Wellington Technical College in 1919. The same year his Scots College building was opened and in 1928 the Wellesley Club which earned him the NZIA gold medal. He designed the new Wellington Railway Station in 1930.

Young was one of the architects invited to work with the government architect designing the prototype state house. A little later he designed a new railway station for Christchurch (Christchurch railway station) which wasn't built until 1960. He also designed the Easterfield building at Victoria University of Wellington in 1951.

As architectural adviser to Knox College, Young presided over its slow elaboration until 1952. Later architects continued to work to realise and elaborate his original idea for decades after his death, an unusual outcome in New Zealand, even for a highly emblematic building.

He was elected a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects in 1913, served on the executive committee from 1914–35 and was its President from 1934-37.

He was President of the Wellington Rotary Club from 1935-36 but did not care for public life preferring the company of colleagues and a group of yachting friends. He died in Wellington in April 1962.


  • AJ Salmond, Knox College Conservation Plan 2004, Salmond Anderson Ltd., Dunedin, 2003.

Notable works

  • Knox College, Dunedin (1909–1952)
  • Elliott House, Wellington (1913).
  • Scot's College, Wellington (1919).
  • Wellington Technical College, Wellington (1919) with John Swan.
  • Wellesley Club, Wellington (1928)
  • Phoenix Assurance Building (1930)
  • Stout Building, Victoria University, Wellington (1930)
  • Weir House, Victoria University, Wellington (1933). This was Victoria University’s first hall of residence.
  • Wellington Railway Station (1937)
  • Kirk Building, Victoria University, Wellington (1938)
  • Australian Mutual Provident Society (AMP) Chambers (1950)
  • Easterfield Building, Victoria University, Wellington (1957)
  • Christchurch railway station (1960)
  • Elliott House, Wellington
  • Turnbull House, Wellington

External links