What did Miles Warren add to the field of architecture during 93 years of his life?


About Miles Warren’s life

Sir Miles Warren was one of New Zealand’s most influential architects, designing a series of striking and innovative buildings over many decades from the 1950s, including the Christchurch Town Hall.

Christchurch Town Hall.

Christchurch Town Hall.

Warren, a founding partner of Warren and Mahoney Architects, is one of New Zealand’s foremost designers.  Founded in 1955 by Sir Miles Warren and Maurice Mahoney in Christchurch, the firm designed many buildings regarded as the benchmark of New Zealand Modernism. Warren and Mahoney continued to produce important buildings throughout the country a style of post-war modernism that Warren brought back from London in the early 1950s. Today they have teams in Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland, Tauranga, Queenstown, Sydney, and Melbourne, who work seamlessly together under their ‘one studio’ structure.

Sir Miles Warren and Maurice Mahoney

Miles Warren had gained post-graduate experience working in London and was influenced by the prevailing “New Brutalist” movement, which was concerned with the functionalist principles of Modernism and the expressive qualities of building materials and systems. In 1955, influenced by these principles, Miles designed a group of flats in Dorset Street, which became a forerunner for what would become known as “the Christchurch Style”. Exposed concrete block walls with concrete beams were innovative for both their structural and aesthetic qualities. These materials, with refined details, became the basis for many single and multi-unit houses which, with controlled planning and skillful massing, generated a distinctive, regional domestic architecture.

Dorset Street Flats‏

His watercolor technique was honed as one of the many tools in the architect’s working toolbox. Sir Miles continued to paint watercolors throughout his career. Sir Miles was also hailed as a landscape designer and his work at Ohinetahi, at the head of Lyttelton Harbour, is open to the public for viewing each year.

Parkroyal Hotel / Crowne Plaza

Christchurch Town Hall Complex ‏

 

Perspective of mid -1970s townhouses in Merivale

In 1974, Sir Miles was awarded a CBE and in 1985 he was knighted for his services to architecture. Sir Miles was given the country’s highest honor in 1995, when he was admitted to the Order of New Zealand. In 2003 he was named one of ten inaugural ‘Icons of the Arts’ by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand.

Sir Miles died on Tuesday 9 August 2022 at the age of 93.

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