Stephen pictured with sons Paul, Mark and their families on 20th November 2011 at his investiture as a Fellow of International House

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Stephen Trotter, IH Architect, Fellow and Friend on Thursday 30 July. He was 84 years old.

Stephen became involved with IH in 1955, when Fulton, Collins and Partners (now known as Fulton Trotter) were approached by the First IH Council (later Board of Governors and then Board of Management) to begin planning IH’s buildings. Stephen’s advice included comment on various matters including the viability of a house in Dudley Street, West End, as well as sites in Clayfield and Brisbane CBD, all of which were rejected for reasons of distance and/or the cost of repairs.

In 1961, the site of a former quarry adjacent to the University Regiment on Rock Street at the University of Queensland campus was granted to the Council for the purpose of building International House. Stephen remembers it being swampy; below the levels of the 1898 and 1930 floods; and that it had been filled with refuse including discarded scrap iron.

Cities in the Sun by Stephen Trotter
Cities in the Sun by Stephen Trotter

In 1962, Stephen received the national Sisalcraft Scholarship and spent three months  travelling through the subcontinent, Persia, Oceania, South America, North America and Europe. Following this, the Courier Mail published an image of the College’s scale model as designed by Stephen. Described as imaginative, the towers were five storeys high, with the shaded overhangs and large windows that Trotter had seen on his tour. Each tower was to house 16 students and a tutor. A communal area on the second floor provided basic kitchen facilities and space for formal and informal tutorials and a fireplace that would warm the building during winter. In the warmer months, the plentiful louvres would provide appropriate ventilation and minimise electricity consumption. As Paul Trotter puts it: ‘The very forms of the towers have both an international and/or Asian flavour, looking somewhat like a group of pagodas in the landscape, while responding to the traditional Queensland house vernacular’.  The subsequent report, published in 1963, Cities in the Sun, illustrated a strong interest in building in the energy efficient and environmentally friendly manner that benefits Queensland’s tropical climate as opposed to the European style homes popping up across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Stephen Trotter, Bert Martin and Everald Compton with the IH Scale Model, 1962
Stephen Trotter, Bert Martin and Everald Compton with the IH Scale Model, 1962

Following the completion of IH’s four towers (A, B, C, D) and Martin Hall, Stephen’s plans were once again used to replicate the building of seven subsequent towers, all of which have been designed by Fulton Trotter. In 1962, Stephen had been offered partnership in Fulton Collins and Partners and his pioneering work in the architecture of the sub-tropics and tropics and adapting these lessons to contemporary conditions was making a lasting influence. In 1996, Fulton Trotter were appointed as architects for the extension of IH to build H, I, J and K Towers. His iconic tropical architecture can now be seen across Queensland and northern New South Wales

Stephen was also passionate about the education of young architects and he lectured at QIT (forerunner to QUT) for 19 years. He was also involved in the Queensland Chapter Council for a number of years with a particular interest in architectural education.

Stephen Trotter with his son Paul Trotter at his investiture as a Fellow of International House 20 November 2011.

Stephen retired from the Fulton Trotter in 1999, but not before he had trained sons, Mark and Paul, to succeed him. Mark and Paul are now both directors of Fulton Trotter, becoming part of a third generation of directors for this icon Brisbane architecture firm.

IH formally recognised the invaluable contribution Stephen has made to International House by investing him as a Fellow of International House on 20th November 2011.

Stephen Trotter’s contribution to International House spans a 60 year period. His ongoing passion and support for International House is demonstrated by the way his family and the firm continue to support and nurture the growth and development of the College to live out Bert Martin’s ‘Vision Splendid’ for people from many lands.

Stephen is survived by his wife of 59 years, Robin, sons Richard, Mark, Paul and Christopher, daughter Angela and 14 grandchildren

He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Stephen Trotter’s Funeral will be held on Friday 7th August at 2:00pm at St Michael and All the Angles Church, 3407 Moggill Road, Moggill.

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