RIP Peter Beaven, iconic NZ architect

Jun 12, 2012
  • Article by Online Editor
  • Designer

Distinguished New Zealand architect Peter Beaven has died, aged 86, in Blenheim on 4 June. Beaven was an advocate for Christchurch’s architectural legacy and the preservation of the city’s heritage buildings, and worked on commissions virutally up until his death. He also helped to establish the Christchurch Civic Trust and was a recipient of the New Zealand Institute of Architect’s leading award, the Gold Medal for career achievement.

Beaven’s architectural achievements include the Lyttelton Road Tunnel (1963), the Manchester Unity Building, Christchurch (1966), Canterbury Arcade, Auckland (1967), QEII Stadium for the Christchurch Commonwealth Games and Tonbridge Mews, Christchurch (1974), Thorndon Mews, Wellington (1975), Longbeach School, Ashburton (2000), and St Mary’s Mews, Christchurch (2003), where he was living when the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes hit.

According to Auckland architect David Mitchell, also a Gold Medal recipient: “Peter’s buildings have a marvellous combination of observation and inventiveness. He had the rare gift – a lovely eye, and hee was an architect of great complexity. Place and occasion, craft and history, social ritual and simple need fuelled his imagination. Peter was a man of great passion. His enthusiasm for his vocation always shone through, and he a tremendous spirit.”

Peter Beaven was remembered in a service at Christ’s College Chapel, Christchurch, at 3pm, on Monday 11 June.

Read John Walsh’s 2009 interview with Beaven.

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