Don Gazzard was born and educated in Sydney, Australia and part completed an engineering course at the University of Sydney before becoming the first apprentice of the newly arrived Harry Seidler in 1950 and switching to architecture.
In 1954 he left Australia and spent four years working in London (on low cost housing with the London County Council) and two years in Montreal (on the Place des Arts). He returned to Sydney in 1960 and with George Clarke and Peter Yeomans started the first Australia-wide multi disciplinary design and planning practice employing architects, town planners, urban geographers, environmental and traffic engineers.. During a 20 year period the Clarke Gazzard office prepared the first City of Sydney Strategic Plan(1971) and the City of Adelaide Plan(1974). Thirty years later, both of these guiding plans are regularly revised and still in use.
In 1970 he was made a Life Fellow of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, and in 2006, Sydneysider: An optimistic life in Architecture', a book about his life and work, was published.
Don Gazzard has made major contributions to urban design in the City of Sydney:
- The Outrage Exhibition(1964), and the book Australian Outrage (Ure Smith 1966) condemned the poor design of the urban environment and led to continuing improvement in local government design.
- A pedestrian precinct in Martin Place which improved the centre of the Central Business District was proposed by Don Gazzard in 1968 and the final stage was completed in 1986, and this led to many smaller improvements, such as Richard Johnston Square, created from resuming unnecessary areas of roadway; a process which has since been widely emulated to advantage. The full history of Martin Place is set down in the chapter ' The Peoples Promenade' by Don Gazzard in the book 'The Design of Sydney'
- Major pedestrian improvements to the Circular Quay precinct proposed in 1961 were not adopted at the time but were largely implemented years later.
- Don Gazzard was one of the founders of the Paddington Society and led the citizen actions that culminated in the conservation of the Paddington area.
His buildings include the following :
- House at Hunters Hill (1961):
First Wilkinson Award for Domestic Architecture 1961
- Wentworth Memorial Church at Vaucluse (1964):
20th century Heritage Register.
- TAA Terminal at Sydney Airport (1970):
RAIA Award (since demolished)
- Martin Place Pedestrian Precinct 1968 to 1986 ;
George to Macquarie Streets , Sydney.
- House at 88 Hargrave Street Paddington (1972):
20th century Heritage Register.
- Tourist resort, Dunk Island, North Queensland (1978)
- High schools on Guadalcanal, New Georgia and
Solomon Islands (1980)
- Gazzard office in Paddington (1982)
- High school on Espiritu Santo, Vanautu (1984)
- Electrical Engineering Building, University of Sydney (1993)
- Border Control Facility, Vientiane Laos (1993)
- Byron Shire Council Chamber and Offices,
Mullumbimby NSW (1997)
- Sports Centre, University of Newcastle (1997)
- House on Jamberoo Mountain, NSW (1997)
- House at Sandy Point, Victoria (2009)
He retired from his Sydney practice in 1995 to live on a mountain overlooking the Jamberoo Valley south of Wollongong, married the artist Anna Griffiths in 1997, worked from Jamberoo as a sole practitioner until they relocated to Melbourne in 2007 and continues to practise in Melbourne.
He is a prolific writer on architecture and urban affairs, played an important role in the fight against the Triangle development in St Kilda, and continues the struggle to establish an artgarden on this important site. Don Gazzard has recently written several novels, including Range Riders, which is loosely based on the Triangle affair.
A holiday house at Sandy Point near Wilsons Promontory was completed in 2009: architects get better as they get older and Don Gazzard is available to share his experience and enthusiasm on the right projects