“The first moment I considered architecture as a career was in primary school, when I won a watercolour competition with a picture of a castle.”
Born in Christchurch, Richard Harris is an influential leader in the creative and professional services industry. He is strategic, purposeful and 100% client focused.
As Chairman and former MD, Richard’s aided in shaping and continuing the Jasmax culture and philosophy, as well as having a major hand in developing New Zealand cities and urban spaces.
On graduation from the University of Auckland, he worked for a developer, then left to backpack around South America and Europe. On arriving back in New Zealand, Richard worked for Auckland Council as an architect. “It was a time that was full of optimism for the future. Through that, I developed a love for public projects,” he says.
There followed work on redeveloping Auckland Art Gallery (“the first time around”) as project architect for the then largest project in town. Other civic work and a commensurate pile of awards and recognition ensued.
Setting up in partnership as Gibbs Harris, he won a coveted competition and designed the Maritime Museum – on a different site from the current one. The practice boomed. Council amalgamations at the time meant that projects were sprinted into production by the partnership. When Jasmad approached Richard’s practice to join (along with another firm), a three way merger resulted and Jasmax was formed.
There followed years of some of the largest, most defining projects in New Zealand. For Jasmax, Richard led: the redevelopment of Auckland’s iconic Civic Theatre, Eden Park redevelopment, Sylvia Park, Auckland Hospital buildings, restoration of Auckland’s Town Hall, and buildings on Auckland University’s and AUT’s campuses.
Relaxed yet insightful, Richard is as much at home with a sketchpad as he is addressing and persuading a Board. Shoulder tapped by Government to lend expertise and acumen on New Zealand’s cities, he is also an innovator and natural leader in architectural education. A genuine interest in talent development, a passion for and ease with people, has helped colour his vision for Jasmax too. "The biggest challenge and greatest satisfaction has been keeping our extraordinary culture intact. It’s a warm culture that truly serves our clients."