Sir Miles


Sir Miles Warren

Sir Miles Warren’s Biography

Arts Foundation Icon 2003
Sir Miles Warren, ONZ, KBE, FNZIA, has been at the forefront of New Zealand's architectural profession for over forty-five years.

Born in Christchurch in 1929, Sir Miles gained work experience in London after completing his architecture degree, . He was influenced by the "New Brutalist" movement, which was committed to the functionalist principles of Modernism and emphasised the expressive qualities of building materials and systems.

In 1955 he designed the now famous group of flats in Dorset St, Christchurch, which became the forerunner for what is commonly referred to "the Christchurch style". It formed the basis for many single and multi-unit houses, generating a regionally distinctive domestic architecture.

A commission for the Christchurch Dental School in 1958 initiated a partnership with Maurice Mahoney which, according to Sir Miles, proved to be as successful as it was because they complemented each other: Maurice was largely silent whereas Sir Miles "talked far too much". As an indication of its future success, their first collaboration in the design for the Dental School won them national recognition as well as an NZIA Gold Award.

The 1960s saw the new architectural practice develop their trademark approach, and a commission for the Christchurch College in 1964 provided the opportunity to translate it into more complex planning. The resulting design of open spaces and carefully crafted buildings has created an environment with enduring appeal.

Commissions over the next decade included the Christchurch Town Hall, the New Zealand Chancery in Washington, the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington, and the Civic Offices in Rotorua.

In 1974 Sir Miles was awarded a CBE and in 1985 a KBE, both for his Services to Architecture. Sir Miles was given the country's highest honour in 1995, when he was admitted to the Order of New Zealand. Sir Miles retired from Warren and Mahoney in the same year.

Sir Miles received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Auckland in 2001 and one of two top honours in Canterbury's Business Awards in September 2007. He was presented with a special commendation for his contribution to New Zealand's architectural profession.

Sir Miles's autobiography was published at the end of 2008 by Canterbury University Press. His work was the basis of an exhibition at the Christchurch Art Gallery at the time of his birthday. The exhibition was also shown at The University of Auckland's Gus Fisher Gallery in 2010.

In 2011 Sir Miles Warren was profiled on Television New Zealand's Artsville.

Sir Miles lives in Governor's Bay, Banks Peninsular. His property Ohinetahi is ranked as one of New Zealand's best formal gardens. The garden and homestead were extensively damaged in the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.