John Sutherland Obituary

We are saddened to share the news of the passing of architect and early member of JASMaD, John Sutherland. With over six decades of architecture under his belt, recognised as an NZIA Distinguished Fellow, and awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to architecture, John was a totara in the profession. He was a well-respected, opinionated and energetic force we were lucky enough to have working at Jasmax right up until he retired last year, aged 88.

John’s career and influence within the industry was considerable. An important part of Jasmax’s history and evolution, John was a director of JASMaD for 25 years, and a senior member of Jasmax until 2021.

In his own words he said of his career: ‘There is no doubt that my career did not straight line in a traditional way. It veered off into all kinds of opportunistic things to do with architecture.’

When he was made an NZIA Distinguished Fellow, the highest accolade an architect can receive in Aotearoa New Zealand, the NZIA said:

“Alongside his commitment to practice and industry, John has pursued a strong interest in teaching, first at the University of Auckland and then as the founding Head of the Unitec School of Architecture. In his academic positions, as in his professional roles, John was instrumental in forging beneficial connections with international peer organisations. John has played a very active role in the NZIA, serving as chair of the Auckland Branch, a Councillor for 18 years, and as Institute President (1983–85). He has made an enormous contribution to New Zealand architecture.”    

John leaves us with a legacy of dedication to quality building, and a full and vivid career. To read more on his career there is a wonderful article here: Not your typical architect | Architecture Now.

A committed and valued mentor at Jasmax, John was always available to help. He could often be found in the office patiently helping everyone from graduates to principals untangle their problems. His spirit of curiosity and desire to improve the profession is one of the legacies he leaves behind.

‘It’s been a matter of being in the right place at the right time and always saying “yes, why not?”, and then doing something new and different. As a process, I can recommend it:’ John Sutherland.

We will miss you, John.


John Sutherland