'For anyone who becomes an architect, it's about remaining committed and not losing the passion. You've got to have a passion for architecture. It's a wonderful and rewarding profession.'
Brian Suters, Founder Suters Architects
The Newcastle architecture firm that Brian Suters became partner of five decades ago has grown and evolved considerably under his leadership. Yet, while the company is now a national and international business, dwp|suters retains at its heart some key principals of its founder and the town that shaped him.
Suters was from the outset an architect deeply rooted in a sense of community and a belief in the ability of superior civic infrastructure to instil pride and a sense of place. Today, community architecture remains one of dwp|suters core strengths.
Architects are sometimes popularly portrayed as dreamers, showmen or eccentrics. Brian Suters brought a quieter, less self-aggrandising approach to his architecture. This stemmed in part from his belief in the importance of listening – to the client and the community. Today dwp|suters continues to distinguish itself with an emphasis on client engagement and enquiry throughout the design process.
Having built his career in a working-class city, Brian Suters developed a very practical and non-nonsense approach to architecture. He believed it was essential that what was drafted was exactly what could be built. Careful, painstaking, documentation which left builders and sub-contractors with minimum questions and no ambiguity, became a hallmark of his projects.
That same careful approach to documentation remains part of the dwp|suters business culture. The firm leads the architecture industry in the use of building information modelling (BIM) to save time and construction costs for the benefit of clients.
From the outset, Brian Suters was and remains a committed modernist in the tradition of the Bauhaus, Le Corbusier and Seidler. Yet he is also a passionate conservationist, with a distinguished portfolio of heritage projects. In Newcastle, Australia’s second-oldest city, Suters was able to exercise his belief in balancing an embrace of the new with a stewardship of the old.
dwp|suters continues to create architecture that is both contemporary and modern, while being respectful of its historical and social contexts.
From humble beginnings Brian Suters built one of the most successful national practices to emerge from a regional base. In 2009 he received an Order of Australian in honor of his long-standing commitment to Australian design, architecture, community service and the arts.
His architectural achievements include The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre at Penrith, Civic Park Fountain in Newcastle, his own home, Wolfe Street Newcastle, (winning the Royal Australian Institute of Architects’ Blacket Award), as well as a strong interest in the preservation of existing architecture.