Vale Ian McKay 1932 – 2015

Ian McKay CB Alexander Tocal College photo by Max Dupain
Ian McKay & Phillip Cox CB Alexander Tocal College photo by Max Dupain

I was saddened to hear of the loss of one of Australia’s master architects Ian MaKay. Ian was an exceptional and uncompromising architect with great intellect. His building designed in association with Phillip Cox during their partnership; the CB Alexander Tocal College won the AIA 1965 Sulman and Blacket Award and again, more recently, won the AIA 2014 National Enduring Architecture Award. The press shots were photographed by Max Dupain, another heavy hitter.

Ian later found a patron in John ‘the Baron of Bryon’ Cornell, more easily remembered as Strop the brains behind the Paul Hogan show & Crocodile Dundee. Together they produced great buildings including the Bryon Bay Hotel among many others. Its also quite possible that John found Ian, I think every architect wishes for a patron as they provide a freedom to design unhindered.

I was fortunate enough to spend some time in Ian’s company as a student architect. I experienced his understated yet powerful architecture first hand at his Kangaroo Valley home in NSW. Ian also showed me how to play a ‘mean’ game of croquet. Both of these I remember to this day as I recall many of his design elements and sketch them often from memory. I have also passed on the skills I learnt on the croquet field along with the drinks that accompany a good game. I thank him for both these fantastic experiences, he will be missed and my thoughts are with Helen, Holly and their siblings.

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