Peter Freeman’s  new book, Thoroughly Modern: The Life and Times of Moir + Sutherland Architects, documents the work of Heather Sutherland, one of Canberra’s early women architects, in a monograph on the practice she ran with Malcolm Moir.

The ‘Spinney’, designed by Heather Sutherland, 1937 at the slopes of Red Hill under snow. Photo: Patience Australie Wardle [Tillyard].

Thoroughly Modern traces the evolution of Moir and Sutherland’s architecture, and the subsequent achievements of Ian Slater and Neville Ward, Malcolm’s practice partners following Heather’s tragic death in 1953. Organised chronologically,  the book includes two chapters on Sutherland’s education and early years in architecture. Subsequent chapters describe the formation and development of Moir + Sutherland Architects, including the biographies of the partners and detailed discussion of the work produced by the practice.   

The book argues that this oeuvre – a coherent collection of residential and commercial buildings throughout Canberra – is at the forefront of Modernism in Australia. Thoroughly Modern examines the national and international contacts and influences that shaped and informed Moir and Sutherland’s work and includes beautifully rendered watercolour sketches, architectural drawings, period photography and correspondence.

Malcolm J Moir, Australian Institute of Anatomy: Perspective of Courtyard, FCC Architects Department, 1929.

Author Peter Freeman OAM has dedicated more than four decades to the conservation, documentation and celebration of Australia’s architectural heritage through his practice as both conservation architect and historian. Peter is the author of many books on Australia’s heritage and vernacular buildings, and has worked across the country on a number of heritage conservation projects, including Hobart Town Hall and the Robin Boyd–designed Manning Clark House in the ACT.

Thoroughly Modern: The Life and Times of Moir + Sutherland Architects is published by Uro Publications.

All drawings photographed by Andrew Metcalf and courtesy the National Library of Australia Moir+Sutherland Archive unless otherwise noted.