Napier is called the “Art Deco Capital of the World.” Most of the city’s 100 plus Art Deco buildings were constructed within the decade following the 1931 Hawke’s Bay Earthquake. The magnitude 7.8 Napier Earthquake is still considered New Zealand’s largest natural disaster. While struggling to recover, a co-op was formed called the Associated Architects of Napier. Dominated by three firms, they designed a new, uniform layout for the city. They choose Art Deco (also called Art Moderne) because it was popular after being introduced during the 1925 International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris. The style was also colorful and decorative (a visual treat for citizens surrounded by destruction) and inexpensive (a major consideration during the height of the Great Depression). This façade of the former Hotel Central, originally owned by the Napier Brewery Co Ltd., is a stunning example. It was built in 1932 using the design of Ernest Arthur Williams. Williams was the most prolific architect in Hawke’s Bay during the 1930s. He is credited with 30 historic structures in Napier.