Obituary of Daryl Cockburn 02/08/1939 – 04/02/2023

Obituary of Daryl Cockburn 02/08/1939 – 04/02/2023

It is with sadness that we share with you the passing of one of BiograView’s biggest supporters, Daryl Cockburn, a passionate, and sometimes controversial, architect.

Daryl Cockburn in front of his Palazzo, Wellington. Some of the windows are painted on the building, “because that made it look better,” Daryl told me. I admire the painter’s skills for making them look so realistic! 

I first learnt about Daryl when one of our writers, Alina Suchanski, wrote an article about him and his architectural journey called Daryl Cockburn, Architect with a sustainable passion. in our December 2021/January 2022 issue.

As a student, one of Daryl’s mentors was well-known architect Michael Fowler, after whom Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre was named. It became a friendship for life until Michael’s passing in July 2022. Later, Daryl travelled to Edinburgh, Scotland where he continued to study, followed by a career as city planner in the same city for several years before returning to New Zealand, joining Michael Fowler as a partner in Calder Fowler Turner & Cockburn Architects.

Daryl had taken a special place in my heart, after several exchanges of communication in which he expressed his gratitude profoundly for the above-mentioned article, placing several orders of the magazine so that he could share it with as many people in his familial and professional circles as possible.

Our article about mental health in June/July 2022, Mind you – reflections on depression from different cultures by Alina Suchanski was close to Daryl’s heart too and he was convinced that it changed many lives.

I had the pleasure of meeting this interesting, eccentric, warm-hearted and charming man with a twinkle in his eye at his residence in Wellington in July last year, just two weeks after Michael’s passing and a week before his own birthday on the 2nd of August. He was proud to call himself a Leo. I called him the ‘Mick Jagger of architecture’ by which he was very flattered. Before I headed back to Taranaki he insisted that we take a selfie, welcoming me to stay anytime when in town.

Daryl and myself in front of an artwork at the Cockburn residence, Wellington.

He also adored another article, Closer to Heaven; Sacral architecturethat featured in the same issue he appeared in and was written by Philippa Hadlow. It supported his views on tall and narrow windows, because, he said, “the sun is high in the sky, it rises and sets, so therefore doesn’t move from side to side.” He was not a fan of big wide windows or giant glass buildings, which can look gloomy and black on a cloudy day, reflecting the sky. Besides, you need room to hang photographs and art!

Being so passionate about this viewpoint and taken by our articles, he even confided that he would take our Dec ’21/Jan ’22 issue to the Wellington City Council to support a case regarding city planning. I was stoked.

I enjoyed the times we would have a chat on the phone. Daryl had a big heart and was always generous in showing this to his loved ones, so it was impossible not to love him. Sadly, we never made it back for another visit. Farewell Daryl, we will miss you.


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