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He was NSW chapter president of the Australian Institute of Architects in 1986 when the President's Award went to the former NSW deputy premier, Jack Ferguson, for his contribution to preservation of such buildings as the Mint and Hyde Park Barracks.Rice said: ''His willingness to entertain ideas and his encouragement of their development enabled projects to proceed which, without his political will, may never have come about.''Kevin James Rice was born in Waverley on June 8, 1932, the only child of a commercial artist, Henry Rice, and a society seamstress, Mercia (Merle, nee Shea).
In 1955, he was one of the university's first architecture graduates, with honours, then went to work as an architect in England and Norway.Rice left Civil & Civic and joined Oser Fombertaux & Associates before establishing Fombertaux Rice Hanley.In 1976, the same year he was awarded an MBA, he founded Rice Daubney Architects to design educational, health, retail and commercial buildings. Ten years later it was one of the largest groups of its kind in Australia, employing 150 people and handling projects worth $1 billion.It was responsible for many landmarks around Sydney.He married an English woman, Teresa (Terry) Turner-Nash, in London.On returning to Sydney, Rice got a job researching building techniques for Civil & Civic. Living on Mosman Bay, Rice developed his love of sailing, and with a fellow architect, Peter Zalai, entered the 1963 Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race in Gemini, a Vandestadt Black Soo and the tiniest boat ever to compete.
Loaded with tins of tomato soup and seen off by furiously disapproving wives, they got as far as Eden before having to withdraw.
When they radioed in their position, race controllers plotted them as being in Goulburn.
His horizons extended beyond mere buildings - however expertly and inventively designed - to conservation and commercial harmony.
The legacy of his career in Sydney, which began when he returned from London in 1960, was a city with buildings the likes of the HSBC Tower (previously Coopers & Lybrand) in George Street and the Zenith Centre in Chatswood, and others such as the Queen Victorian Building, restored from a dilapidated state to become heritage gems.
Other major projects include the Sacred Heart Hospice in Darlinghurst and Liverpool Hospital.
Rice served for several years on the Heritage Council of NSW.