Stephen Ashton, co-founder of ARM Architecture and joint recipient of the 2016 Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal has passed away aged 61.

Ashton was exposed to asbestos brake pads in the 70s and died of mesothelioma after an extended battle with illness.

National President of the AIA, Ken Maher was quick to express his sadness at the passing of Ashton, calling the multi-award winning architect and former Victorian Chapter President inspiring.

“We would like to pass on our sincere condolences to Steve’s family, friends and colleagues. He will be greatly missed by the architecture community and remembered for his incredible dedication to the practice of architecture, challenging the status quo and inspiring clients, colleagues and students alike,” Maher said.

“Over three decades, Steve along with his co-directors, has made a significant  contribution to Australia’s cultural landscape, which has been recognised this year by the profession’s highest honour, along with their many other accolades.”

ARM Architecture also released a statement on its website which can be read below:


“In honour of a remarkable man, a person of the highest ethics and intelligence, of humour and patience: Steve Ashton, the first letter of ARM, passed away peacefully on Monday 25 July 2016.

“Steve guided and mentored us all through his deep understanding of fine architecture and how it is created and then realised. A national expert at the arcane machinery of construction delivery, he knew how to balance toughness and fairness from the first day of a commission to the day the building opened. He was an exceptional architectural all-rounder and, outside work, a rally driver of the highest skill and distinction.

“We miss him and remember him with the greatest love.”

ARM Architecture have asked that In lieu of sending flowers, please consider a donation to to the Ashton-Nixon Bequest

An obituary was also published in The Age:

STEPHEN ASHTON (1954–2016)

“Dearly beloved son of Jean Cameron Ashton (nee Millar) and (John Roy) Stuart Ashton (dec).

“Much loved older brother of Meredith Watson.

“Loving husband and soulmate of Rosemary Nixon.

“Proud and adored father of Louisa and Kate.

“Loved and admired son-in-law of John and Barbara Nixon (both dec).

“Cherished brother-in-law of Ginny Nixon, James Nixon and Hugh Watson.

“Steve had remarkable vision and the talent to see it realised, through leadership, co-operation and creativity. He was an architect and a founder of Ashton Raggatt McDougall, later ARM Architecture. Steve, together with Howard Raggatt and Ian McDougall, was awarded the AIA Gold Medal this year. Steve competed in car rallies over 40 years and was involved in motorsport governance for 20 years, being honoured as a Life Member of CAMS.

“Steve was exposed to asbestos brake pads in the 70s and died of mesothelioma. Steve and Ro have established a philanthropic bequest to support architecture, medical research and environmental causes.

“The family acknowledges with gratitude the exceptional care of A/Prof Thomas John, with Prof Lindsay Grayson and Dr Rosana Hage-Ali. Thanks to all the staff of Warringal Private Hospital, particularly Sutherland Ward and Day Oncology.

“A celebration of Steve's life will be held in late August. For details, see later paper or email [email protected] or [email protected].

Published in The Age on July 27, 2016


Stephen has acted as Project Director for many large and complex projects and is experienced with most large project delivery models, including alliances, PPP, managing contractor, D&C and many hybrids of these basic forms.

Selected Projects

  • Victorian Desalination Project
  • One William Street, Brisbane
  • Perth Arena Stadium 
  • Swanston Square, Carlton Brewery
  • Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
  • Perth Waterfront (Elizabeth Quay)
  • One East Melbourne
  • 140 William Street, Perth
  • 1010 LaTrobe Street, Melbourne
  • Docklands Digital Harbour Masterplan
  • Melbourne Central
  • King Street Wharf, Sydney
  • Spencer Street Station Redevelopment
  • National Museum of Australia
  • Shrine of Remembrance Visitors Centre
  • Queensland Millennium Library Stage 2
  • Greensborough District Centre
  • Victoria Harbour, Melbourne Docklands
  • Mirvac Yarra Waters, Melbourne Docklands
  • Melbourne Docklands Masterplan 
  • Storey Hall, RMIT University
  • ABC TV Websters Project
  • Australian Council for Educational Research
  • Telecom National Network Engineering Centre