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Farewell Ath, a Great New Zealander

Farewell Ath, a Great New Zealander

Sir Ian Athfield received an Icon Award from the Arts Foundation in 2013. At New Year he was made Knights Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to architecture. Today we had the sad news that he has died. The Patrons, Trustees, Governors and staff at the Arts Foundation offer their deepest sympathies to Ian’s family and all that knew and loved him.

Ian was a great New Zealander, responsible for some of our most memorable spaces and an important voice for civic development.

Sir Miles Warren, former Arts Foundation Trustee, Arts Foundation Icon Award recipient and Architect said Ian’s wonderful house in Wellington started it all. “Until then we architects were a pretty wooden bunch. Ian had wonderful spatial and formal creativity. He was a great witty public speaker. He was a draftsman at Warren & Mahoney before he went out on his own and he often had the whole office rocketing with laughter. Ian’s buildings emerged from his character and New Zealand is the richer for it”.

Patron to the Icons, Sir Eion Edgar said “It is with great sadness, we learnt today that one of our favourite Icons has tragically passed away. Ian was both an outstanding architect, and will be remembered for many Iconic buildings, but also as an inspirational leader who did much to raise the profile of his profession. We share with his family their sad loss”

Sir Ian’s early strengths in art and mathematics shaped the notion of a future career path when it was suggested by a local teacher that he might become an architect. He headed Athfield Architects for forty five years, and was responsible for the majority of design direction. As well as his contribution to the design of a broad range of projects throughout New Zealand, which won well over 100 awards, in 1976 Sir Ian won an international Design Competition for Housing in Manila. He has also been the subject of a number of books, magazine articles and documentaries along with a recent exhibition at Wellington's City Gallery

Sir Ian has been involved in a teaching fellowship with Victoria University of Wellington, has been a keynote speaker at various international conferences and has judged numerous architectural / urban design competitions. He was in great demand as a guest speaker in New Zealand among educational, civic, commercial and charitable organisations.

In 2004 Sir Ian was the recipient of the New Zealand Institute of Architects' highest honour, the Gold Medal, and from 2006 - 2008 he was president of the NZIA. In 2006 he became the first New Zealand architect to be registered as an APEC Architect.


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