Suman Sorg's design for the new U.S. Consulate in Surabaya, Indonesia is a quiet elegant building that embodies U.S. democratic ideals while satisfying challenging programme and security requirements. To create a building that would withstand the test of time, Sorg researched indigeus temples and other ancient, sacred and representational gathering spaces. Inspired by the prevalent use of a local hardwood called paduk in these vernacular buildings, substantial geometric shading devices organize the subtle granite canvas of the facade and a primary sustainable design strategy. The wood louvers of the sunshades are brought into the interior spaces, connecting inside and out. These strategies are just a few that weigh the project equally as a representation of the U.S. Diplomatic Mission and of the extended context of its home on the island of Java. Suman Sorg established her practice in 1986 and it has since become one of the largest female-owned architecture firms in the United States. As Chief Designer, Suman inspires her project teams with a strong commitment to thoughtful modern architecture that explores spatial, material, and visual experience. After careful examination of the unique characteristics of each place (site, climate, culture, community) and the programmatic requirements, Sorg Architects creates modern designs that are sculptural, and often monumental, yet geared toward the human scale. A long-standing interest in historic preservation complements Suman's modernist leanings; by combining contemporary techniques and design strategies with the invative handling of both traditional architectural language and indigeus building materials, Sorg Architects creates architecture that relates to its extended context in a meaningful way.
Suman Sorg's work has been recognised with numerous awards including 23 from the National American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Washington, DC and Potomac Valley Chapters. Suman has lectured extensively for the AIA, the National Building Museum, the Urban Land Institute, the State Department and the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is frequently called upon to serve on design juries. An avid painter, Suman's large-scale works further explore relationships between form and colour. Suman Sorg is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architect and sits on the board of the Washington, DC Building Industry Association. She is a Peer Reviewer for the General Services Administration (GSA) Design Excellence Program, serves on the board of directors for the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, and is a member of the Urban Land Institute, the Washington Building Congress, Women in Washington, and the Lambda Alpha International Honor Society. Suman began her studies at the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi, India and completed her Bachelor of Architecture at Howard University in Washington DC (1970). She went on to study Design and Historic Preservation at Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York.