Laurence Jeremy Elder Salmond QSO: A Distinguished New Zealand Conservation Architect
Laurence Jeremy Elder Salmond QSO (January 2, 1944 – January 3, 2023) was a prominent figure in New Zealand’s architectural landscape, celebrated for his contributions as a conservation architect. His remarkable career and dedication to preserving New Zealand’s architectural heritage earned him numerous accolades and honors, including the prestigious NZIA Gold Medal in 2018.
Early Life and Family
Born in Dunedin on January 2, 1944, Laurence Jeremy Elder Salmond was the son of George McCrea Salmond and Dorothy Salmond (née Smith). He spent his formative years in the charming town of Gore, where his passion for architecture began to take root. Following his secondary education, he embarked on his architectural journey by enrolling in the University of Otago for his architecture intermediate year. During this period, he gained valuable experience at the Ministry of Works, laying the foundation for his future career. Laurence then pursued his Bachelor of Architecture degree at the University of Auckland, a decision that would shape his future profoundly.
His pursuit of academic excellence led him back to the University of Auckland, where he earned a Master of Architecture degree in 1983. His master’s thesis, titled “The New Zealand House, 1800–1910,” reflected his deep interest in New Zealand’s architectural heritage.
In February 1971, Laurence Salmond married anthropologist Anne Thorpe at Holy Trinity Church in Gisborne. The couple was blessed with three children, including the accomplished anthropologist Amiria Salmond.
Laurence Salmond’s architectural career was marked by a commitment to preserving New Zealand’s historic buildings. From 1979 to 1983, he served as a senior architect at Gillespie, Newman, West, and Pearce, contributing to notable projects such as the Mount Albert Library and a retirement center in Te Kauwhata.
After completing his master’s thesis, Laurence spent time living and working in England with his family during his wife’s sabbatical leave. Upon returning to New Zealand in 1983, he established his own practice, specializing in heritage architecture until 1986. In 1986, his book, “Old New Zealand Houses 1800–1940,” based on his master’s thesis, was published. This seminal work has seen multiple editions, leaving a lasting impact on the understanding and appreciation of New Zealand’s architectural history.
In 1986, Laurence Salmond became a partner at Newman Pearce, resulting in the formation of Newman Pearce Salmond Architects. However, he returned to solo practice in 1988, founding Salmond Architects, based in the picturesque Auckland suburb of Devonport. In 1999, he welcomed Peter Reed into his practice, forming Salmond Reed Architects Ltd.
Throughout his illustrious career, Laurence was deeply involved in the restoration of many of New Zealand’s historic treasures. His restoration of the Auckland synagogue (now University House) earned national recognition from the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA). Notable projects that received NZIA national awards included the restoration of Pompallier House (1995), the Civic Theatre in Auckland (in collaboration with Jasmax, 2000), and Eichardt’s Hotel in Queenstown (with Michael Wyatt Architects, 2002).
Honors and Awards
Laurence Salmond’s dedication to his craft and contribution to the preservation of New Zealand’s architectural heritage were celebrated with numerous honors and awards. In 1991, he was elected a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects. In 2002, he became a Fellow of Auckland War Memorial Museum, a testament to his commitment to heritage preservation. His outstanding public service was recognized when he was appointed a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order in the 2007 New Year Honours.
However, the pinnacle of his accolades came in 2018 when Laurence Salmond was bestowed with the NZIA Gold Medal, the highest honor in New Zealand architecture. In 2021, he received a distinguished alumnus award from the University of Auckland, further solidifying his esteemed status in the field.
A Fond Farewell
Laurence Salmond’s passing on January 3, 2023, one day after his 79th birthday, marked the end of an era in New Zealand architecture. His enduring legacy, characterized by a passionate commitment to preserving the nation’s architectural heritage, will continue to inspire and guide future generations of architects and conservationists.