RIP Peter Beaven

Let me add to the many tributes paid to a dear colleague and mentor Peter Beaven who passed away this week.  The architectural tributes are understandably glowing.

My thinking is that while his lungs eventually gave in, I know his heart would have been as big and passionate as ever.

That heart gave me such inspiration in dealing with the academic constraints at the Auckland School of Architecture in the late sixties. His influence on my own modest romantic notions and emerging passion for architecture was enormous.

He not only loved buildings, perhaps almost as much as women, but he actually built them. Lots of them. The ones that survived the seismic attack, must be preserved, now that he is gone.

His fruitful relationship with that other doyen of Christchurch Architecture Sir Miles Warren, was reminiscent of Enzo Ferrari and Ferrucio Lamborgini, who in the car world used their rivalry to elevated their endeavours to great achievement.

I will remember Peter’s passion and energy, and his wry unabashed humour – like when showed the 600 or so attendees at the 2011 NZIA conference, pictures of the devastation of his beloved city.  When he came to an image of the Basilica in Barbadoes Street, he observed that not everyone was upset by the damage to this particular building “… it was always an alternative religion in Canterbury.”

One of the last times I engaged with Peter was a random meeting pre-Earthquakes when he was opposing redevelopment at the Christchurch Arts Centre precinct.  He seemed delighted to see me because, he assumed, I had come to sign his petition.

While the assumption was incorrect, I relished the opportunity for a coffee and a chat at the Dux de Lux with one whom I have always admired.

Rest in peace my magnificent mentor.