Born in 1931 in Richmond Victoria, James Dale Fisher began his architectural life at the Royal Melbourne Technical College (now known as RMIT).

While still a student, he joined Seabrook Hunt & Dale and remained there after graduation, rising to the position of senior architectural assistant by 1956.

That same year, he won the Robert and Ada Haddon Travelling Scholarship, a prize of £450 with a design for a shopping centre at Nunawading.

He used the prize money for work and to go and study abroad.

In the UK, Fisher spent six months working in the London office of Riches & Blythin, where he was joined by his future wife and fellow architecture student Marjorie Drew who had been at Hassell McConnell Architects and Bates Smart and McCutcheon.

The couple married in in 1957.

Returning to Australia in 1960, they set up private practice from the front room of their bungalow in suburban Camberwell.

The couple went on to design the Albert Park Squash Centre in 1961, the Tidal River Apartments at Wilsons Promontory in 1962, and during the 1980s and ’90s, the practice managed to design over 1000 shops across Australia for leading retail brands such as Sportsgirl, Lacoste, Sportscraft and Bradmans.

At its peak, the practice employed 20 architects.  

Widely respected and a mentor and architect to many in the field, Fisher passed away in the house on the Yarra River at Toorak that both he and Marjorie had designed more than five decades before.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 65 years, Marjorie, their three daughters (one also being an architect) as well as an architect son who continues to run the practice.

Source: The Age