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Feature article


Stephen Ashton

ARM Architecture 1954 – 2016

On Monday 25 July, the Australian architectural community lost a highly respected practitioner when Stephen Ashton passed away. Steve was a founding director of Ashton Raggatt McDougall (ARM Architecture) and a leading expert in procurement models for architectural projects. He was born in Sydney but spent his childhood in Maffra, Gippsland. His father, J R (Stuart) Ashton was an architect who moved to Maffra to take over the practice of his uncle, Stephen Percy Ashton.

Steve studied architecture at the University of Melbourne then went to work for Peter Sanders, Daryl Jackson and Max May. In 1984 he established the partnership of Ashton and Raggatt with Howard Raggatt, whom he had met at university. In 1988 he and Howard merged with Ian McDougall’s practice to form ARM.

Steve completed a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration at Swinburne University, which he used to underpin the success of one of Australia’s foremost creative architectural firms. A highly intelligent man,Steve was the steady and wise counsellor among ARM’s triangle of directors and a great all-rounder, involved in the front end of projects, in design reviews and in the delivery process.

Steve was active in the RAIA for many years, in Board of Practice Services and as Victorian Chapter President (1990–1992) when he played a key role in purchasing the Exhibition Street premises. He was made a Life Fellow of the AIA in 1998 and this year shared the AIA Gold Medal with Ian McDougall and Howard Raggatt.

An avid and skilful driver, Steve had a lifelong love of rallying. He was a regular participant in events such as the London-to-Sydney, Australian Safari and Classic Outback trials. He served on the CAMS National Rally Commission as deputy Chair and chair of Rallycorp and 2016 was made a Life Fellow of CAMS.

Steve was a great friend and mentor to many in the profession. His family and friends are holding a celebration of his life and contributions later in August. Contact Kirsty McIntyre for details.