Hutchinson was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire to Frank Maxwell Hutchinson and his wife Elizabeth Ross (née Wright).
Hutchinson was educated at two independent schools in Northamptonshire: at Wellingborough Preparatory School, a day school in the market town of Wellingborough, followed by Oundle School, a boarding independent school in the market town of Oundle. He studied architecture at the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture in Aberdeen and the Architectural Association School of Architecture in Bedford Square, London, gaining a diploma from the latter in 1972. He joined the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1972.
In 1972, Hutchinson founded Hutchinson & Partners. In 1993, he founded The Hutchinson Studio Architects. He was president of RIBA from 1989 to 1991. From 1987–9, he was Chairman of the Industrial Building Bureau (based in Hemel Hempstead). From 1990–2, he was vice-Chairman of the Construction Industry Council.
Hutchinson is a practising architect of buildings including the following, all of which are in London, England:
- Skylines, Isle of Dogs
- JS Pathology's Headquarters, Camden Lock
- Aztec Row, Islington
- Pink Floyd's Britannia Row recording studios.
Hutchinson was caught up in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, and from this he launched the charity Architects For Aid (A4A). Following his experience of the tsunami, Hutchinson founded the architectural charity Article 25. He currently sits on the Board of Trustees and is heavily involved in the fundraising side of the charity. In October 2009, Hutchinson will be running the Royal Parks Half Marathon with the proceeds going towards Article 25's projects throughout the world.
Hutchinson is also a regular television broadcaster, being the best known broadcasting architect in the UK. He wrote and presented three series for the Discovery Channel on architecture, engineering and science, and worked on BBC Two's First Sight and Restoration Nation.
Hutchinson has also presented Channel Four's Demolition Detectives, and wrote and presented No 57, The History of A House. He has also contributed to Carlton Television's The Good, The Bad and The Listed as well as Anglia Television's Hidden Heritage and on BBC Yorkshire's Inside Out programme. Her was the local presenter for London for the BBC's Man-Made Wonders series in 2006. On 7 June 2009, he presented a Songs of Praise about the architecture of Trafalgar Square, meeting Ralph McTell and Bruce Kent.
Hutchinson is also a regular contributor to BBC Radio Four, as well as BBC Two's Newsnight, Robert Elms' show on BBC London 94.9 (on Tuesdays) and various programmes on LBC radio. On BBC2, he presented How to Rescue a House, now seen on UKTV Style.
When in Aberdeen, Hutchinson played a multi-instrumentalist role in various bands including Cousin Mary with fellow architectural students, Iain Wolstenholme aka djRayC (bass and harmonica) and Martin Pottinger (drums and percussion). Guests at various times included Judge Smith and David Jackson (both of Van der Graaf Generator). With composer Smith on vocals, Cousin Mary recorded the demo for "Imperial Zeppelin" in 1969 (at a one-time Troggs' local countryside recording studio) subsequently released on album by co-composer Peter Hammill with Pottinger from the Cousin Mary band repeating his role on drums. The original demo eventually saw the light of day in 1991, when released by Judge Smith on his first solo CD, Democrazy.
Hutchinson also played guitar for some time for Lene Lovich, for whom Judge Smith wrote. He is a churchwarden of Our Most Holy Redeemer on Exmouth Market in Clerkenwell, and a deacon of St John on Bethnal Green. He plays the piano, and composes music. He is married.
- The Prince of Wales: Right or Wrong?: An architect replies (18 September 1989, Faber and Faber, foreword by Richard Rogers) ISBN 0-571-14287-7.
- Number 57: the storey of a house (30 June 2003, Headline Book Publishing) ISBN 0-7553-1147-7.
- The Hutchinson Studio Architects
- Maxwell Hutchinson at the Internet Movie Database
- The Gordon Poole Agency
- Biography on Maxwell Hutchinson on the BBC Website at the Wayback Machine (archived February 9, 2006)
- Leeds architecture in January 2009
- Interviewed by Radio Leeds in January 2009
- London's Seven Man-Made Wonders in July 2006
- London Inside Out in February 2009
- Leeds architecture for Yorkshire & Lincolnshire Inside Out in January 2009
- History of a House on factualTV on YouTube
- Visiting Leicester for Building Britain
- The North-South Divide with Geordie Sue Caroll for BBC Breakfast in September 2005