Growing up in South Canterbury and spending my formative years in Christchurch meant Warren and Mahoney buildings were a part of life. They shaped the post war - pre-quake world that I lived in like modernist jewels on a Tudorbethan landscape.
There are many examples of his work, as one half Warren and Mahoney, that I loved growing up. Most are now famous; but for me 2 stand out. The first, was one of his earliest works, The Dorset Street Flats. They were designed and built between 1956 and 1957 and are among some of the most important dwellings built in New Zealand.
Miles Warren designed them as a young architect (he was born in 1929) and unwittingly launched an architectural style that would become the 'Christchurch School' of post-war architecture, a style that helped shape modernist architectural design in New Zealand for over two decades. I love the understated nature of these buildings: concrete block, timber, glass; simple materials used to create a beautiful and functional building. Their presence is all over the city even now.
The second has a more personal connection: I have visited the Harewood Memorial Gardens and Crematorium (1963) to pay my respects to grandparents and uncles, all cremated in this beautiful building, with its familiar construction elements of concrete, extensive glazing and exposed timber structure. The crematorium always left me in awe with its winged roof and geometric form.
It's difficult to quantify the contribution Sir Miles has made to New Zealand architecture, particularly in a rebuilt Christchurch where so much has been lost, thankfully there are still reminders of him everywhere we look.