Obituary: Sir Miles Warren

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga staff were saddened to hear that renowned Christchurch architect Sir Miles Warren has died.  

Sir Miles Warren and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga staff pose for a photo.
The Canterbury/West Coast Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga team with Sir Miles Warren.expand/collapse

Born in 1929, Sir Miles spearheaded modernist architecture in Aotearoa as part of the practice Warren and Mahoney. His most significant New Zealand works include the Christchurch Town Hall (designed when he was just 35 years old), College House, Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre and Dorset Street Flats.

It wasn’t just through his own work that Sir Miles shaped the world around him – he also influenced generations of New Zealand architects through his creativity, drive, and disrespect for traditional authority. “Miles, at his best, was a master craftsman and a world-class leader and mentor. He did it all from instinct,” says Warren and Mahoney Principal Andrew Barclay.

Miles, at his best, was a master craftsman and a world-class leader and mentor.
Sir Miles Warren stands beside a statue.
Sir Miles Warren in his garden at Ohinetahi, next to a sculpture of him by Mark Whyte.expand/collapse

Heritage New Zealand staff have fond memories of interactions with Sir Miles. He supported heritage projects and events through the Warren Trust, including one of our projects, Four Houses Four Decades. In December 2014, he generously showed the Canterbury/West Coast team around his beautiful heritage property and outstanding gardens at Ohinetahi.

Acting Director Southern, Christine Whybrew, remembers talking to Sir Miles about the listing report of College House, which she authored. “We had a great chat about the painting of exposed concrete block and the terrazzo bathrooms and wondered if the students appreciated his design aesthetic as much as we at Heritage new Zealand Pouhere Taonga did.”

Rosemary Baird and Paul Veart