Mark Brown & Fairhead

(Alan Fairhead ; 1926 -2010.)  (Peter Mark Brown; 1929-1978)

Leaving the School of Architecture in 1951 Peter Mark Brown worked in the office of D B Patterson before joining with Alan Fairhead to start their own practice. Alan had studied at the Seddon Memorial Technical College before heading to the School of Architecture in 1946 where he and Peter met .

By 1952, the fledgling practice was having its designs published in the local Newsview magazine, an Auckland monthly covering local fashion, music, fiction and architecture – in competition to several similar papers including Henry Kelliher’s  “Mirror. Heavily influenced by the works of Neutra, Breuer, and Gropius, the practice (initially including Alan Warwick  on drafting and design duties) began to find some interesting commercial and private clients. The offices of ‘Burroughs Wellcome & Co’ in Federal Street were featured in the ‘Home & Building’ magazine, along with Peter Mark-Brown’s own 800 sq ft modernist house in Portland Rd. These were to be followed by a number of highly regarded and influential designs which would propel the practice into the forefront of local modernist architecture, and New Zealand’s first international architectural conference.

Mark-Brown Fairhead are often regarded as a ‘residential practice’, but this could be misleading – and seems to be based on the later incarnation after Ron Sang joined . Peter and Alan’s early clients would include many commercial operations often related to the growing aviation industry, and would have them designing buildings and fitouts both across this country and overseas. Other commercial clients included Otis Elevators, Upec Plastics, Berlei,  New Zealand Post, Snow Rainger and Summit to name a few.

Many of these were repeat clients, and often led to designing residences for the owners of the businesses – a similar development to colleagues Rigby:Mullan, who did several houses for the owners of companies they had designed premise’s for (Milne & Choyce, Masport).
The Raynor House, by Rigby:Mullan (1952) was an early work Peter and Alan worked on as interior designers and project managers, while getting their own practice up and running..

A full history will be added shortly.