It is with great sadness that we farewell Roy Wilson, founder of Warren and Mahoney’s Wellington Studio, former Executive Director, Fellow of Te Kāhui Whaihanga NZ Institute of Architects, consummate professional and a true gentleman. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.
Roy had a significant impact on the success of Warren and Mahoney as founder of our Wellington studio in 1979.
Starting his architectural career in the early 1970s, Roy approached Sir Miles Warren for a holiday job while studying at the Auckland School of Architecture. After graduating in 1976, followed by a stint abroad and a period with his own practice, Sir Miles approached Roy to re-join Warren and Mahoney in 1978 as a Partner.
Roy accepted and shortly after commencing work in Christchurch, opened our Wellington studio, overseeing the development of the highly acclaimed Michael Fowler Centre, a 3,000-seat auditorium and conference centre, acknowledged to have superior acoustic qualities by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
With over 40 years’ industry experience, Roy has contributed to many notable and high-profile projects of local, national and global significance. Two particular highlights of his career include the strengthening and refurbishment of Parliamentary Buildings (completed 1996), and the Westpac Trust Stadium (completed 2000) – both of which are significant contributions to the city and society.
Roy’s extensive portfolio also includes notable projects such as the construction of Bowen House in 1990 which served as the temporary home for Parliament during the strengthening of refurbishment of Parliamentary buildings; Fletcher Challenge House (89 The Terrace), a 14 storey commercial office tower; the refurbishment of The Executive Wing (The Beehive) in 2006; the 17-storey, sculptural waterfront commercial development, Maritime Tower in 2006; the restoration, strengthening of the Old High Court and award-winning addition to Supreme Court of New Zealand in 2010 – a feat of ingenuity and workmanship; and the sensitive redevelopment of the National Library of New Zealand in 2013.
Roy demonstrated leadership and dedication throughout all facets of his professional career. He established a reputation for outstanding performance and consistent excellence in his field, and his contribution to the built fabric of Wellington provides a lasting legacy.
A True Presence – Rodney Sampson
"Roy held such a presence he would often change the room by merely walking in. You always felt safe knowing Roy was in your corner. He was incredibly supportive, always there when you really needed him. He had our backs; he made you feel like you would win anything, which was incredibly empowering as a young architect.
"I hadn’t been working with Roy for long and we were waiting to present the new design for National Library. Helen Clark (then Prime Minister) walked in to introduce the project to the media. She stopped as she entered the full room, she turned to single out Roy, and said, ‘Mr. Wilson, you’re my architect! Glad to see you have this under control.’ It wasn’t until this point I hadn’t truly realised who I had signed up to work with.
"Roy loved speed. Quick, definitive decisions were celebrated, and slow deliberation was the enemy. If there were delays and prolonged deliberation you could see his energy levels rise, and you knew he was going to step into the conversation to set things right. This love of speed would see him on wonderful trips with his rallying friends, and on his return he had amazing stories of the travels of his co-driving escapades.
"He always reminded us that Warren and Mahoney was more than work, it was a family. He was a fearless advocate for us, Warren and Mahoney and the power of architecture. He was resolute in everything we went through together and completely irrepressible. I think of our values - Togetherness, Respect, Clarity, Adventurousness, and Authenticity - and how strong our culture is here; it all stems in part from the values Roy installed in us – to be respectful, to treat everyone as you would hope to be treated, to say please and thank you – it’s so simple but so true.
"Roy would comment that architecture can get too complicated. He admired simplicity and clarity. Wise and simple words from the consummate professional and a true gentleman."