Stephen Ashton, co-founder of ARM Architecture, former Victorian Chapter President, and joint recipient of the 2016 Gold Medal, has passed away at age 61.
After being exposed to asbestos in brake pads in the ’70s, Ashton died of mesothelioma.
On behalf of the Australian Institute of Architects, National President Ken Maher expressed sadness at Ashton’s passing. “He will be greatly missed by the architecture community and remembered for his incredible dedication to the practice of architecture, challenging the status quo and inspiring clients, colleagues and students alike.
“Over three decades, Steve, along with his co-directors, has made a significant contribution to Australia’s cultural landscape, which has been recognised this year by the profession’s highest honour, along with their many other accolades,” Maher said.
ARM Architecture published a statement on their site in memory of Ashton. “In honour of a remarkable man, a person of the highest ethics and intelligence, of humour and patience: Steve Ashton, the first letter of ARM, passed away peacefully on Monday 25 July 2016,” it said.
“Steve guided and mentored us all through his deep understanding of fine architecture and how it is created and then realised. A national expert at the arcane machinery of construction delivery, he knew how to balance toughness and fairness from the first day of a commission to the day the building opened. He was an exceptional architectural all-rounder and, outside work, a rally driver of the highest skill and distinction. We miss him and remember him with the greatest love.”
Over his 30 years in the industry, Ashton worked on many successful projects, including the Shrine of Remembrance Visitors Centre, which was awarded the Victorian Architecture Medal by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects in 2004, as well as the Perth Arena, which has won six awards in total.
ARM Architecture ask that in lieu of sending flowers, please instead consider making a donation to the Ashton-Nixon Bequest which Ashton and his wife, Ro Nixon, established.
The bequest’s aim is to support architecture, medical research and the environment. In particular, it will support scholarships for young architects to gain business training at universities of their choice. This is a public ancillary fund, which means that anyone can contribute to the fund and it will be tax deductible.
Vale Stephen Ashton
26 October 1954 – 25 July 2016