Andrew Irvine died peacefully at his home in Denver, Colorado on July 17th, spending his last moments immersed in the love and company of his family. Andrew was surrounded by his art, his flowers, and his music as his family’s loving hands carried him from this world to the next.
Born in Launceston to Bryan and Gwenneth, Andrew grew up there and in Hobart with his sisters Jenny (Danny, Hobart) and Kim (Rob, Karoola), and brother David (Felicity, Brisbane). He met the love of his life, Lisa Wingrove, after a chance meeting in the department store where she worked. With the cunning aid of mutual friends, they spent an evening lost in each other’s company and, ultimately, lost in the woods on an otherwise romantic walk. Following a move to Sydney for university, they started a beautiful family with the birth of their effervescent and compassionate daughter Grace and their brilliant and gentle son William, born following a career move to Melbourne. To the benefit of all, his children carry on his best and most endearing attributes, but to Andrew’s never-diminished amazement and pride, they became strong, independent, and wholly unique citizens of the world.
Though his wonderful family is the legacy of which he was most proud, Andrew was renowned as a visionary urban thinker and city builder and his profound influence on the practice of urban design is recognized globally. He believed in the power of improving life through the built environment, making a career out of creating places that promoted happiness, health, dignity, and pride of place. He loved people and used his creative talents to envision and design a world that lifted people up. Based in Denver since 2001, he traveled the world bringing his expertise, curiosity, and empathy to solve for urban challenges across many scales and settings. He created a roadmap for sustainable homes and employment in Kigali, Rwanda, crafted the epic urban setting for the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, in Dubai, and honored and was preserving the heritage and beauty of the San Miguel Mission in California, among many others.
Andrew’s legacy will endure forever in the work of the many students and designers he mentored. His voice will echo in their minds – that Aussie accent that could convince anyone of anything – forever urging them forward towards leading with heart and humility and designing the cities he believed we all deserved to inhabit. We will all be luckier for it.
As a young child, when asked ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’, William confidently answered ‘a Dad’ in a pure and honest testament of the patient, kind, fun-loving, and supportive father and person Andrew was. William spoke for the world – Andrew was what we all want and aspire to be. He was a wonderful father, a loving, funny, kind, compassionate, thoughtful man. He was deeply loved and will be desperately missed.
Grace sees the world through flowers and illustration, bringing the best of her father to those around her. Though heartbroken, we are, in Andrew’s own words, a family of hope and love, and this is the greatest legacy he could leave.
How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – A.A. Milne
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