Sir Miles Warren

Sir Miles Warren, 1929-2022

Sir Miles Warren was one of Christchurch’s foremost architects.

Sir Miles Warren is one of the Twelve Local Heroes, a set of bronze busts sculpted by Mark Whyte. The twelve heroes were chosen by the Local Heroes Trust whose members include former Christchurch Art Gallery Trust chairman Chris Brocket, Arts Foundation of New Zealand trustee Ros Burdon, Susan and Jim Wakefield, and Sir Miles Warren.

Sir Miles Warren’s plaque reads:

"Eminent architect, at the fore-front of building design for over 50 years, generous supporter of the arts and tireless worker for the betterment of Christchurch"

Information about Miles Warren from the Twelve Local Heroes trail at the University of Canterbury


Photos of the Miles Warren bust

Miles Warren

To mark his 80th birthday in 2010, Sir Miles' work was the basis of an exhibition at the Christchurch Art Gallery. Alongside his internationally-recognised architectural work, the exhibition revealed his skills as a landscape designer and painter of watercolours.

In an interview on Radio New Zealand, Sir Miles described the venture as “a bit like an architect standing with his architectural pants down, with everything exposed”. The exhibition represents 45 years and “hundreds” of creative people, he said.

Early career

Sir Miles began his working life in Christchurch with Cecil Wood, and initially studied architecture via correspondence at the Christchurch Atelier. He moved to Auckland to complete his studies, then worked in London before returning to New Zealand.

It was during this time that his watercolour technique was honed as one of the many tools in the architect’s working toolbox. Sir Miles continued to paint watercolours throughout his career. Sir Miles was also hailed as a landscape designer and his work at Ohinetahi, at the head of Lyttelton Harbour, is open to the public for viewing each year.


Sir Miles was made a CBE in 1974, knighted in 1985 and was awarded the Order of New Zealand in 1995. In 2001 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Auckland, and in 2003 he was given the Icon award by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand.

Design practice

Sir Miles Warren started his design practice in 1955, beginning with the design of two houses in Timaru in that year. In 1956 he designed the Dorset Street flats in Christchurch, and in 1958 he began a long and successful partnership with Maurice Mahoney, winning a large contract to build the Dental Training School. The practice became known as Warren and Mahoney. The pair’s work is regarded as the birth of a Christchurch style of architecture.

The Christchurch Town Hall was designed by Sir Miles Warren.

Sir Miles retired from the practice in 1995. In the wake of the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes he was active in discussions about the future of Christchurch buildings, in particular the Town Hall, as a member of the Keep Our Town Hall group.

Sir Miles died on Tuesday 9 August 2022 at the age of 93.

Victoria Square tower planning
Victoria Square tower planning commissioners stood on Victoria Street looking north west from the central city. Pictured are, from left, Dame Ann Hercus, Ken Nairn and Clinton Roper with tower architect Sir Miles Warren (front). 3 March 1988. © Christchurch Star. CCL-StarP-03140A

Sir Miles Warren


Related pages

Online resources

Miles: A Life in Architecture
Celebrating the achievements of leading New Zealand architect Sir Miles Warren. Christchurch Art Gallery, 10 June 2010.

Warren and Mahoney houses

The Warren Trust
Sir Miles Warren established the Warren Architects’ Education Charitable Trust (The Warren Trust) as a vehicle to promote architectural education to both the architectural profession and the wider public in New Zealand.

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