School of Architecture

The Master of Architecture degree at the University of Queensland offers students an opportunity to tailor their education to their interests. Find out more about the courses within the degree.

Design Studio Course Descriptions  - Semester 2, 2017

ARCH7001 Architecture and Commerce – BVN Architecture Brisbane Studio and Lisa Moore

This semester the studio will examine the relationship between the forms of cities and the financial systems that produce them by asking participants to design a tall commercial building for a Brisbane CBD site. 

The high-rise office building type that dominates many cities is a product of a profit-driven economic model and mode of working that has come to be seen as unsustainable and impoverishing. Commercial building construction forms part of a global market of financial investment and real estate development that treats buildings as commodities. The contribution of the architect within this business process is only one of many forces acting on the final outcome of the building. This studio is an opportunity to reimagine how architects and architecture can create office environments in cities that provide dignified and enriching spaces for its users, the public, and the natural environment, while engaging critically with the funding models required to finance such large-scale projects. 

The project will require students to research and creatively deploy the building elements typical of tall building construction, such as structure, core, typical plan, curtain wall and facade, parking, podium, and ground plane. In addition, the categories of form, experience, verticality, and horizontality will be used as a way to frame the design of the building at varying civic scales. 

The studio will be run from BVN’s Brisbane Studio.


ARCH7002 Institutions and Ideology – Elizabeth Musgrave

“Architectures that bridge”

Levering off the 44th Nisshin Kyogyo Architectural Design Competition 2017, sponsored by the Japanese architecture journal Shinkenchiku and titled “Bridging – Architecture that Bridges,” this semester’s work will extend previous investigations into educational paradigms and archetypes. It will consider the metaphysical dimensions of ‘bridge’ as a ‘building’ that ‘visualises’ and ‘gathers’ the programmatic, material and/or cultural and that through connecting opposing or unconnected entities, brings into existence a previously unrealised whole. We will situate investigations in Fortitude Valley, the location of one of the two new schools planned by the Queensland State Government, the first new schools to be built in inner city Brisbane since 1963. Work will be in two stages; the first exploratory and open-ended, identifying an architecture that bridges institutions, cultures and social groups, and the second after the competition submission in early October, focusing on a detailed design study of the bridging architecture/al element.


ARCH7003 Adaptive & Capacities – Pedro Guedes

Queensland Ballet has risen to International prominence since Li Cunxin became Artistic Director in 2012. Its current home in Brisbane’s West End is a robust brick building dating from the early 20th century, originally built as a shoe factory. The structure has undergone several ad-hoc additions and adaptations and is ready for a major overhaul in recognition of its important cultural role. A benefactor has acquired and donated four adjacent properties to the Ballet Company together with a substantial financial legacy aimed at consolidation of cultural activities on this site.

We will honour the heritage-listed building along Montague Road while creating a forward looking precinct with modest yet assertive additional buildings that acknowledge and respect the scale of the old factory and nearby domestic grain. We will be concerned with ways in which the new complements what already exists without abandoning integrity and contemporaneity. We will be preoccupied with detail, intensity, the tactile and ambitions surpassing the mere solving of problems. Working at a relatively small scale will challenge us to explore the stuff of architecture beyond sweeping gestural one-liners.

In addition to resolving planning and access issues in the existing building, we will add a technically demanding 400-seat venue with raked seating. Much needed additional adaptable spaces available also for hire will help give the complex a sound financial footing and greater engagement with the public. A strong emphasis will be given to outdoor space, where even necessities such as fire escapes will aspire to take on other functions, bringing delight to visitors.


ARCH7004 Dwelling and Density – Doug Neale

Students in this course pursue diverse solutions to the challenge of accommodating rapidly growing, urban populations locally and globally. Student will be required to design innovative housing based in research and fieldwork into formal and informal housing. Issues such as density and amenity, privacy and community, climate and cultural appropriateness, affordability, disability, ageing and changing household demographics are considered in the design of innovative housing. The aggregation of housing projects and their effects at the urban scale in creating or mitigating against segregation, gentrification and suburban sprawl are explored. The detailed design of private, communal and public spaces is expected.


ARCH7005 Landscapes and Architecture – Manu Sobti

"The Place of Memory and Memory of Place: Re-imagining Terrain and Landscape in Chandigarh"

Within the purview of design scholarship, Le Corbusier’s unparalleled tabula rasa at Chandigarh (built 1951-66) represents the grand culmination of the ideals of the CIAM alongside the City Beautiful Movement. Chandigarh’s visceral urbanity, spatial and formal ordering, and the self-consciously ‘unresolved’ connection with the Himalayan foothills, remain among the most provocative qualities of the city.

In highlighting the palimpsests of site, context, topography and genus loci, this design studio re-visits Corbusier’s formal syntax of tectonic elements specific to Chandigarh's urbanity, engaging especially with the soft landscape ‘edges’ specific to the making of this ‘aspirational’ and transforming urban center. It elaborates upon the ‘hybrid’ architectural vocabulary that Corbusier had visualised in some detail but was unable to realise, while experimenting with interconnections of earth forms and architecture, and employing strategies of rhizomatic interconnections and mutualism.

Enrolled students will produce a collective series of readings that examine sital features before moving into individual mapping and design strategies. The focused climax of the studio shall speculate on the nature of unbuilt components within and beyond Chandigarh's Capitol Complex, especially the so-called Governor’s Palace - while re-imagining site and intended connections to the Himalayan foothills. Beginning from speculative directives emerging from Corbusier’s sketchbooks, we will re-engage with topical and specific discussions on place, culture, heritage and urban sustainability towards the project of a Terra Archive.




ARCH7006 Utopian Urbanism – Silvia Micheli

NOTE: Studio has already been allocated based on an earlier call out.

Ecology of the Border

The Pearl River Delta is one of the most flourishing economic areas of the world, with the Hong Kong International Airport one of the busiest hubs of the Asia Pacific region. And yet its organisation is fragmentary, with Hong Kong and Macau being two special administrative regions (SAR) with independent rules from Mainland China. As their socio-political and administrative organisations carry a high level of autonomy, the two SARs are isolated by controlled borders. Through the case-study of the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB), the studio “Ecology of the border” will reflect on the mutation of the nature of the border, from being an administrative and military infrastructure into a more complex commercial reality. Students will be encouraged to investigate the role of architecture in the making of borders in the Post-Mao society.

The studio will be complemented by a field trip to Hong Kong and Macau, schedule on 19-26 August 2017 (TBC). The estimated price of the flight+ accommodation is approx. $ 1,600 (additional costs may include local transport, food and visa to Mainland China). Please note that for both funded and self-funded students’ insurance is covered by UQ.


ARCH7008 Material Experiments – Fred Fialho

NOTE: Studio has already been allocated based on an earlier call out.

The Material Experiments 2 studio couples digital and analogue forms of computation derived from material-based experiments and digital fabrication techniques. The studio explores material computation and evolutionary strategies to inform an iterative process of design. Through the use of bioreactors and their biological properties, an integrated knowledge between material computation and spatial logic will emerge. Across open acts of experimentation, the studio examines and uses photo-bioreactors as innovative tectonic propositions as self-regulating environments and material systems. The course will explore additive and subtractive fabrication techniques, which will also be highlighted in a study trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Due to its technical content the Material Experiments 2 studio will run through intense workshops and material experimentation periods.


ARCH 7015 Generative Structures – Kim Baber


In a not too distant future, low-lying cities will be transformed by rising sea levels. Cities will struggle to adapt spatial and physical connectivity to a submerged ground plane and must invent a new typology of transitional elevated structures.  These will be opportunistic, pragmatic and must be constructed with available materials.  Structures will be lightweight, and able to adapt to a range of urban morphologies in varied and often foreign contexts.


The course will involve intensive workshop periods of fabrication in timber, undertaken in teams and individually. During the semester, students will need to allow for 2 intensive workshops, each run for a full day on a Saturday.  This studio will also involve collaboration with students and staff from the School of Civil Engineering, and will provide opportunities to learn skills from the engineering discipline. It is expected that students entering this studio will have experience working in the Workshop and Co-Lab. Due to physical constraints in the School of Architecture Workshop and Co-lab environment, this studio will be limited to 10 places.


ARCH7016 Responsive Environments - Paola Leardini


A sustainable and resilient future for a city based on one or more (interconnected) Urban Metabolisms is not the result of a single explorative journey but involves the continuous ability to innovate and maintain the capacity for adaptive governance processes to both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ urban disturbances, and to do so by a continuous change of its urban fractals and within these, its smaller components. VanTimmeren

The METALAB design studio looks into the future of Brisbane’s medium to high-density built environment, with a strong focus on environmental and social sustainability of responsive spaces and artefacts. The design investigation will stem from the concept of Urban Metabolism, which, looking at the city as a living organism, allows understanding and modelling multiple flows – water, energy, food, and people, as well as information - of urban complex systems and their parts. It will interrogate the evolving concept of responsive architecture at different spatial and semantic scales: from the macro scale of the “urban fractal” (Downtown, 2009), “integrated neighbourhood” (Register, 2006) and “pocket neighbourhood” (Chapin, 2011), to the micro scale of augmented spaces within buildings.

The first explorative part of the design studio, leading to the definition of individual “pocket neighbourhood’s” (clusters of dwellings gathered around a commons) within the Norman Creek catchment, will include critical reading, background research, site analysis, technology documentation and data gathering. Thematic workshops with experts and local community will help students conceive and design their fractal metabolic systems for circular management of resources.

The final design will unpack the spatial quality of the commons as a social catalyst and shape the proposal for an interpretive centre, where environmental data from the sustainable urban fractal is processed and displayed through responsive or augmented environments.

UQ’s School of Architecture is part of an ongoing investigation on water resilience in Brisbane City. Through this studio and allied events within the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities, students will participate in design-led research generating spatial propositions of diachronic public space and resilient architecture, critically evaluating their social and environmental viability and validity in future high-density urban areas.

Research Selective Course Descriptions - Semester 2, 2017

This semester the process will be done through an automated online allocation system based on preferences.

Login to the Faculty website to indicate your preferences. The system will allocate you to a topic accordingly. Please read the Research Topic Statements carefully and note any requirements prior to choosing your preferences. 

Important dates 

Opens – Friday, 7 July at 9:00am

Closes – Monday, 17 July at midnight

Notification of allocation – Friday, 21 July COB the system will generate notifications

The Research Selectives are held on Wednesdays between 9:00am and 11:00am and Tuesdays morning and afternoon dependant on the Selective. For more details refer to the descriptions in the allocation system here - Faculty website.



Nicholas Skepper – Tuesdays 9-11am

This design based research elective will aim to develop skills in explorative making and exhibition as a form of research. Emphasis will be placed on contextualising the research projects within a field of design practice. Knowledge gained through iterative making explorations will be explicated in the form of a short written exegesis, and an exhibition of the artefacts produced over the course of the semester. Students will be introduced to the work of notable architects, researchers, artists and other spatial practitioners that work in the realm of explorative making and exhibition. The course requires the detailed development of an aspect of an existing design project completed in a previous M.Arch design semester. The specific focus of each individual research project will be negotiated at the commencement of the semester and should subsequently be developed through a series of explorative making activities. The medium engaged with through the research project will not be restricted, and may include both analogue and digital technologies, however should ultimately result in a physical installation / exhibition at the culmination of the semester. Assignment 1 (30%) – 8:30am, Monday 28th August. Assignment 1 will consist of a research proposal in the form of a 10-minute digital slideshow presentation (of primarily visual content) of up to 20 slides. The research proposal should include; - A project description, including an overview of the existing design project and a description of the aspect of that project that is to be the focus of the research. - A mapping of the field of research and practice, including reference to key project exemplars, theories, practitioners and researchers that are relevant to the proposal. - Proposed media and methods for the making explorations. - A preliminary proposal for the final exhibition format. - May include preliminary / draft examples of making explorations.
Assignment 2 (70%) - 10:00am, Monday November 6 Assignment 2 will consist of two parts;

PART A: A set of explorative making activities that aims to develop an aspect of an existing design project in detail, resulting in a collection of physical artefacts. Making is to be undertaken in a highly rigorous and iterative manner.

A carefully considered and ambitious exhibition of the artefacts produced over the course of the semester. The curation (i.e. arrangement, selection and display) of artefacts and design of exhibition displays and materials should be consistent with the ideas developed in the research project. This aspect of the project is critical to the clear explication of the ideas and knowledge gained through the making explorations. The precise scale and nature of the exhibition should be developed in consultation with the elective leader during tutorials. The
exhibition is to be accompanied by a catalogue that includes a short written exegesis of 1000 words that concisely describes the processes engaged with through the design based research, and the ideas and knowledge that have emerged as a result. Images of completed works and documentation of the making process should accompany the catalogue text. The catalogue should be printed and bound – size and materials are not restricted, however should be consistent with the ideas and qualities of the research project.
Please note, Students enrolling in this option should have successfully completed one MArch Studio.



Andrew Wilson & Nicole Sully – Tuesdays 2-4pm

Between 1942 and 1945, Brisbane’s geographical position, saw it take a strategic role in the regional defence of the South West Pacific. This triggered significant new construction to accommodate military personnel, aid in the city’s defence, as well as facilitating war-related production that included the construction of air raid shelters, factories, workshops, barracks, and concrete “igloos”, as well as facilities to house military personnel and other infrastructure. In addition to new construction, a number of existing buildings were also appropriated for military purposes.


This selective forms part of an ongoing research project initiated by the Selective Leaders that proposes to investigate the transformation of Greater Brisbane’s built environment during WWII. Participants will be invited to help chart the legacy of Brisbane’s involvement in WWII on the post-war built environment. Students will be required to consult primary and secondary material in libraries and archives, as well as undertaking empirical observation and documentation. The focus of the selective will be on Brisbane, however there will be opportunities to undertake comparative analysis with other cities.

Assessment 1 (30%): Annotated bibliography & 1000 word essay Assessment 2 (70%): Long essay, 5000 words

Please note, this offering is scheduled at the same time as BLDG7021 Advanced Architectural Technology. Students enrolled in BLDG7021 will not be able to enroll in this selective.



Frederico Fialho - Wednesdays 9-11am

The State Library of Queensland (SLQ) is inviting UQ architecture students to take part in envisioning new design proposals that foster architecture, spatial arts and new media for their famous “Knowledge Walk”. By approaching the construction of knowledge as a transitional element, and being produced in our minds through empirical experience, one is constantly seeking for new models and modalities of stimulation. Similarly, in order to perceive space – whatever kind – one has to be present in order to understand how it exists or is experienced or expressed. Nonetheless, as one is constantly immersed into a space, our mental space or knowledge is constantly producing new paths of connections, either consciously or unconsciously.

The outcomes of the project will tackle the key spaces of the “Knowledge Walk”, that start at the entrance billboard along with its front landscape, through the void between the new and the old building and exit of the Knowledge Walk. The SLQ will be hosting the project providing the course with a ‘workplace’, as well as the use of the materials and the tools of SLQ The Edge. The collaborative nature of the project, will allow designers to directly engage with SLQ in the understanding of knowledge across multiple models and modalities. The transmodal approach aims at creating a hybrid body of works by contemplating into the proposed theme, which will also be presented and exhibited at SLQ. The course expects students to bring their individual knowledge of spatial understanding to foster a transdisciplinary design understanding.
Participants will develop an individual design proposal that combines the use of digital media and architecture.

Assessment 1 - 30%
There is one component for Submission - a poster.

Assessment 2 - 70%
The final submission will be a compilation of all works (including submission 1) developed throughout the semester within a specific format. There are two components to Submission 2, a model and a poster.



Paola Leardini – Tuesdays 11am – 1pm

The terms ‘carbon zero’, ‘carbon neutral’, ‘zero energy’ or ‘zero emission’ are all expressions of the same breed of buildings that are expected to populate our future decarbonised cities: they efficiently use renewable energy sources for their operation, achieving no net annual emissions from direct fuel combustion and electricity use. Considering the vital role buildings play in addressing the issue of climate change, a legitimate question for the next generation of architects is: should we be aiming for zero carbon buildings in Australia? While Australia’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions are the second highest in the OECD and in the top ten in the world, under the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) agreement, the country has undertaken to reduce its emission to 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030. This ambitious goal cannot be achieved without profound changes in the construction sector, which makes up almost 20% of Australia’s carbon footprint. Efficiency of manufacturing and construction processes, and high energy performance of buildings across their life cycle are both key to this change: design and construction of (or refurbishment for) high performance buildings avoid locking in emissions and energy intensive systems in the future building stock.

This course offers the opportunity to reflect on how we should be building now, for the future: exploring the concepts of low, zero and positive energy buildings; learning directly from EDS experts about design strategies and tools to achieve the performance target; and testing solutions through a real-life design challenge.

Working collaboratively with EDS consultants for a real client, students will be part of a team to envision and design a house that goes beyond zero: not only will it strive to be energy and water self-sufficient, but also include broader social and environmental sustainability principles, and design solutions for ageing in place, affordability, indoor quality, and life-cycle material and construction optimization.

Phase 1: Building the skills (background research) (30%) In the first part of the course students will consolidate their understanding of principles and technologies for building beyond zero. Each team member will investigate (through literature review and international case studies) and document (2000-word illustrated report; annotated bibliography and relevant graphic sources) a selected topic with the aim of compiling preliminary documentation in support of the following design phase. Students will be supported by area-specific experts and engage in thematic workshops. Results of this investigation will be shared in a synthesis workshop and inform design choices.

Phase 2: Building the space (research by design) (70%) In this phase strategies and technologies will be implemented and tested on a real residential project through qualitative and quantitative methods – including graphic and simulation tools. Team activities will be structured around weekly meetings to report about work undertaken outside the selective sessions. Team members will individually contribute to the comprehensive graphic and written documentation of the proposed design solution.

A site visit to Mount Tamborine is planned in the initial weeks of the semester, and meetings with the house owners will take place regularly to review the design progress.



Manu Sobti – Wednesdays 9-11am

Through the course of human history, the multifarious destinies of urban settlements have remained closely intertwined with the waxing and waning of rivers and ‘hydro’ boundaries. Located in proximity to the natural conditions of water landscapes and related ecologies, these habitats have either scrupulously capitalized or deliberately kept away from the limitations of riverine banks, flood plains, estuaries, deltas, reservoirs, seafronts and inner harbors. In effect, the interactions of water with urban environments have created fecund sites across time and space. Most importantly, while natural and landscape ecologies have pre-determined urban foundation and response at sites of ‘hydro-city’ interaction, the most radical impact on the architecture of these environments has occurred via the specific actions of human agency. This impact is especially telling in how the limits, borders, zones and banks that underline these hydro or riverine conditions have been constantly delineated and re-defined. Realized in the very act of physical making (construction) and un-making (demolition and dismembering) of the sectional transect, this has characteristically defined unique urban responses at the hydro edge in each case.

This Research Selective examines the specific politics that created this described urban-hydro edge and pre-mediated its formal qualities. It documents the landscape re-shaping defined through the potomology of the idiosyncratic (and occasionally predictable) ‘hydro’ zone. It questions how the historical sites of the city – contours, landforms, and water pathways – were modified to ‘receive’ the urban palimpsest. Why did some urban centers completely ‘occupy’ the hydro edge, while others ‘move away’ from it? Where would our current discussions on global warming and rising ocean levels take the architecture of this described ‘hydro’ city in the future, which relies on its proximal relationships to water? Within this purview of complex issues, this Research Selective focuses on the hydro-mappings of selected urbanities across the Asia Pacific region, rendering the above questions and concerns in graphical terms via drawn representations.

Over the semester, enrolled students shall participate on two specific tasks that spring from class presentations:

Assignment 1 (30%) FIRST, they shall each select one hydro-urbanity from amongst the list provided by the supervisor at the beginning of the semester. Within the purview of a group effort, class discussion, library and web-based research, this case shall be examined through a morphological lens, while addressing the issues of urban genesis, landscape transformation and human agency as especially pertaining to the sectional transect. It is expected that each student shall complete a short, 2000-word illustrated report accompanied by an annotated bibliography of textual and graphic sources relevant to the selected case. This shall constitute 30% of the total grade (10% group grade & 20% individual grade)

Assignment 2 (70%) SECOND, these preliminary and comparative studies shall be leveraged by individual students to create a portfolio of 10-12 graphic (and annotated) representations at a prescribed format that specifically addresses the extra-large, large, medium and small scales of hydro-urban interactions of the selected case. These ‘re-presentations’ shall include line drawings,
figure-grounds, scatterdiagrams and composite maps, while also introducing students to drawings and mapping conventions ranging from Tufte to Habraken, Hillier, Rowe, Herdeg and Petruccioli. This second component shall conclude with a 2000-word analysis that re-visits the selected case given the insights provided by the graphic representations created by students. This shall constitute 70% of the total grade.

NB.: Students who undertook the Hydro Mappings option in 2016 are not eligible to undertake this offering.


MANIACS AND MONOLITHS: Finding Architecture in its Documentary Representation

Susan Holden – Wednesdays 9-11am

Maniacs and Monoliths: Finding architecture in its documentary representation. In the last decade or so “documentary films have experienced a surge in mainstream popularity” (Coffman, 62), and architecture has been a popular subject matter. A cross-section of recent examples show the range of ways architecture becomes a subject: Bjarke Ingels: Architecture (part of the 2017 Netflix series Abstract: The Art of Design), Citizen Jane: Battle for the City (2016), and Grayson Perry’s Dream House (2015) all focus on a single personality but present different aspects of architecture – as a creative pursuit, as a social right, as a form of art practice. While Barbicania (2014) and National Gallery (2014) use observational techniques to uncover a story within a building or institution; and The Airstrip: Decampment of Modernism (2014) explores the spatio-temporal qualities of architecture and film and their common relationship to modernity.

This research selective will study a series of documentary film representations of architecture, following the themes identified above. Working outwards from specific cases, we will engage with the history and the theory of the documentary genre, interrogating its claims to truth, reality and authenticity; discuss techniques and effects of the medium and connections between architecture and film as democratic arts; and consider documentary’s capacity to represent and advocate for architecture.

Assessment will require library research and essay writing. Students should be prepared to engage with the development of written arguments and writing good quality prose. To complete assessment, students will be required to watch some films outside of class time.

Assessment 1 (30%): Introduction to one of the documentary screenings (up to 3 students per doco) A two or three dimensional visual representation, using architectural techniques, of a selected documentary. Annotated Bibliography (Endnote) developed in conjunction with the above

Assessment 2 (70%): An essay (5000 words). Essay topics will be discussed during the semester in response to themes that come out of the screenings and Assessment 1. Students are encouraged to development their own topics. Essays might consider: • Portrayals across multiple documentaries of a single figure, building or movement (Rem Koolhaas, Philip Johnson, Diller and Scofidio, Sydney Opera House, Brutalism) • Focus on a filmmaker – Frederick Wiseman, Heinz Emigholz, Beka and Lemoine… • Discussion of several films under one theme. • Relationship between architectural documentaries and architectural history.


TALL TIMBER: Technology Transfer in Complex Timber Buildings

Marty Bignell - Wednesdays 12-2pm + Optional Field Trip to Tasmania during mid-semester break (27/09/17 to 01/10/17).
A program of optional additional lectures is being offered on Fridays 12-2pm.

IMPORTANT. Please note travel for this selective is self-funded by students.

Timber’s capacity to store carbon and replace energy-intensive conventional building materials has driven a surging interest in wood as a structural material for tall timber buildings. Since the early 1990’s developments in material science, digital fabrication and industrial assembly processes have opened up the possibility of pushing timber structures to become a viable alternative to traditional construction methodologies.

Reflective of this are changes to the Australian National Construction Code. Introduced in May 2016 restrictions were eased on the construction of structural timber buildings of up to 25 meters in effective height. This relaxation of the ‘deemed to satisfy’ provisions of the code has begun to establish a demand for innovative timber structural solutions for mid-rise timber building typologies. The code amendment has already seen construction companies such as Lendlease positioning to take advantage of potential environmental, cost and time savings that structural timber buildings promote. Nevertheless, the construction industry in Australia is traditionally risk adverse and reluctant to invest in research and development. The risks associated with technology transfer pose a major barrier to the development of innovative construction methodologies in complex timber buildings. This selective will explore ‘research by design’ as a mechanism for promoting technology transfer in the development of multi-story timber buildings. Through contemporary case study analysis, students will develop their own design research projects that engage with current research in timber tectonics.

The selective lecture series will expose architecture students to a multi-disciplinary range of professionals working in the timber and construction industry. Spanning architecture, engineering, construction and forestry management, the selective will work between the schools of architecture and civil engineering.

Design research projects developed over the course of the semester will be curated by students to form an exhibition to mark the launch of the Centre for Future Timber Structures (CFTS). The research centre is geared towards the education of future timber industry professionals and the creation of knowledge-based innovations that can drive the development of timber in the built environment. The speculative design proposals will align with the CFTS’s aims to develop innovative technologies and research-based education through exemplars of applications in timber that will help to illustrate how these technologies can be introduced into the market.

A field trip to Tasmania (Launceston) will be undertaken at the midpoint of the semester in collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Timber with Wood (CSAW) and the University of Tasmania. This trip is optional, but recommended. Students will be responsible for all of
their own costs associated with this trip. An estimated budget for travel is:
Flights and Taxi: $630
Accommodation: $450 (Hotel) $175 (Air B&B)
Food: 11 meals x $20 = $220
Total = $1300

Assessment Tasks:
Project 1 Academic Research (30%):
Contemporary case study analysis of complex multi-story timber framed building (see case study list below). Including (but not limited to): Engineered timber structural system, assembly method, level of prefabrication, design flexibility, services reticulation, construction detailing, fire separation.
Project 2 Research-by-design (70%):

Part A: Survey current research on applications of timber in complex multi-story buildings. Evaluate your findings to highlight potential improvements that could be made to your assignment 1 case study. How does your particular case study work? How could it work better? The parameters of the design project will be agreed on a case-by-case basis within tutorial sessions and will, to some degree, depend on the selected case study’s particular advantages or disadvantages.

Part B Develop applications of your research findings towards a speculative design proposal. Use your case study building to establish the scale and typology of your scheme. The design research proposal is to visualise the particular characteristics of the chosen case study material / technology, highlighting the strengths and benefits of the selected research in a theoretical application
NB: This option cannot be taken concurrently with Shaneen Fantin’s Social Outreach Selective, or Fred Fiahlo’s Design studio (as these also have field trips planned during the mid-semester break. Priority for this option may be given to students who have not previously undertaken a making option. Important, please note that the school is unable to offer any financial assistance for the travel associated with this selective. The travel component is optional but recommended.



Emily Juckes & Tyson McCulloch – Wednesdays 9am-1pm

The statutory act of Heritage Listing aims to conserve places of cultural heritage significance by identifying cultural values and controlling change. In Australia, the development approval systems that manage change in heritage listed places are underpinned by the principles and processes of the Australia Burra Charter. The Charter sets out clear advice on the requirements for ‘new work’ in heritage places, which call upon all involved to first understand the unique significance of the place and then to exercise objective judgement of the impact of the proposal on that significance. This topic will explore the process of understanding cultural values and proposing change to places of heritage significance. The projects will focus on a case study site in Brisbane and will develop knowledge and skills that are relevant to working with heritage listed buildings in architectural practice.

Project 1 (30%) Participants will be introduced to the principles of working with cultural heritage through literature review, group discussion and case studies in the field. A focus site in Brisbane will be researched and analysed through the Burra Charter framework. Working in small groups participants will derive and declare a strategic framework for change to the focus site. Research outcomes will be collated and presented in a report.

Project 2 (70%) The strategic framework will then be utilised as the basis for a series of structured applied research activities. Working as individuals, participants will use visual architectural design techniques to test, develop, and analyse hypothetical changes to the heritage place. Research outcomes will be collated and discussed in a report.
Learning activities will be scheduled in 5 x intensive 4-5 hour sessions. Participation in all sessions is required.

Session 1: Fortitude Valley Field Work (Wednesday 2 August)

Session 2: Discussion and Research Activities (Wednesday 16 August)

Session 3: Discussion and Research Activities (Wednesday 30 August)

Session 4: Discussion and Research Activities (Wednesday 13 September)

Session 5: Discussion and Research Activities (Wednesday 11 October)



Tim O’Rourke – Wednesdays 9-11am

This selective will examine different properties and applications of timber at the scale of furniture. Groups of three students will make furniture prototypes based on a common design with parameters adjusted to suit the construction method. The aim of the research is to use the prototypes to compare and evaluate different timber types and joinery techniques. For example, lamination of rotary timber veneers will be compared with solid timber joinery. Using technical data, literature, construction and testing, students will acquire knowledge of timber properties, wood machining, adhesives and fixings.

Students will establish and use a set of criteria to evaluate decisions that inform the design and fabrication of the prototypes. These criteria will depend on the prototype but may include structural testing, embodied energy, material sustainability and recycling, production constraints and ergonomics. Each group will need to make at least three variations of a prototype.

The first stage of the project will be a combine a literature review on wood and joinery techniques with a survey of design precedents relevant to the prototype. For the first assignment, groups will also describe the prototypes with technical drawings and construction schedules. In the second stage, the groups will make and evaluate the prototypes. During the semester, students will need to work closely with Sam Butler and John Stafford from the Faculty Workshop for the preparation of jigs and machined components. Woodwork is time-consuming. Due to expected demands on the workshop and co-lab, students will need to be flexible in their schedule and blocks of time on weekends may be required to prepare and assemble components.

NB. Students who enrolled in this Selective offering in 2016 are not eligible to undertake this again. Preference may be given to students who have not previously enrolled in a making selective or studio.


Dr Shaneen Fantin and Ms Belinda Allwood (POD - People Oriented Design) Tues. 9-11, Travel during mid-semester break)
NB. Funding assistance provided by UQ for travel component
A future for our people: developing Indigenous land in an urban context.

The Social Outreach Studio Selective (SOS) provides the opportunity to engage and work with an Aboriginal land trust (Alluna Land Trust and associated members) on an urban site in Cairns. The selective will run as an intensive from 23-30 September 2017 in Cairns. It will build on students’ research skills and understanding of Indigenous architecture, land tenure, inter-cultural design methods and skills, and communication methods for complex issues in a culturally and socially appropriate manner. Students will use research methods to gain a deep understanding of the needs and vision of the Alluna Land Trust (ALT), the land over which they have custody, and the development, financial, social and political constraints around building on that land.

In the middle of the industrial precinct of Cairns is an 11ha parcel of land that is designated Aboriginal Freehold land and is governed by the Aboriginal Land Act 1991. This land was once an Aboriginal reserve and was handed over by the Queensland Government to the Alluna Land Trust in 2002. In addition to its constraints under the Aboriginal Land Act 1991, it is also under the jurisdiction of Cairns Regional Council planning controls. This makes the site unique in its competing constraints and presents a number of complex questions:

How can the site be developed in line with the aims of the land trust, and the constraints of the land tenure, planning scheme and other legislation?

What solution will provide a sound economic future for the land trust enable Indigenous architecture and development on the site?

Representatives from the Gimuy Walubarra Yidinji (Gimuy) and Yirrganydji peoples of far north Queensland make up the ALT board in equal numbers. The Gimuy and Yirrganydji are also in negotiations over native title rights for most of the Cairns area, which makes meetings and decisions complex for the ALT. The ALT have been working with People Oriented Design (POD) on site analysis and development options for the site. Together they undertook a master planning and visioning workshop about the current land trust area. The resulting report describes the outcomes of the workshop and records the development visions of the ALT for the site. The report makes a number of short, medium and long term recommendations for the ALT to consider implementing. Students will use the report as a base for their initial research and will be asked to extend and explore some of the recommendations in research and design assessments.
Shaneen Fantin and Belinda Allwood of POD have a multi-disciplinary architect, community engagement, research and project management practice based in Cairns and will lead the Social Outreach Studio Selective working collaboratively with Alluna Land Trust and a range of stakeholders. The selective will include visiting the site on a number of occasions to understand its location, geography, vegetation, ecology and history, and attending meetings
with a range of Indigenous people who live and work on the site, as well as members of the ALT itself.

Travel to Cairns during the mid-semester break is supported being funded from the University of Queensland and the equity in the SOS fund. Travel and accommodations expenses will be covered by from these funds, however students will be responsible for their own expenditure for some meals and all incidentals.

Assessment 1 (30%)
a. Research essay (1500 words) demonstrating an understanding of the historical and legislative context and constraints of the site, and
b. A visual analysis of at least two case studies of Indigenous architecture and intercultural design with similar constraints. The visual analysis of each case study should contain axonometric and figure ground drawings demonstrating different aspects such as spatial organisation, socio-cultural response to brief and site, circulation, environmental strategies, views, permeability and privacy.

Assessment 2 (70%)
The ALT will nominate areas of the site that they have interests in developing in further detail. Choose one of the nominated areas and undertake two tasks:
a. a visual analysis of its existing conditions and
b. a feasibility analysis for an appropriate design strategy for the nominated area.
The visual analysis of existing conditions should be presented as maximum 4 power point slides that can clearly be understood by a range of people irrespective of age or literacy. Use your communication methods from the first assessment to inform the content of this analysis.

The feasibility analysis and design strategy should visually demonstrate the mix of building types, relationship to context, the architectural response in form, materiality, wayfinding, address, and any socio-cultural or environmental responses. It is important that the land trust understand how the design strategy can be implemented which means the feasibility analysis needs to include possible staging of development, preliminary broad costings for different stages, a risk analysis for the strategy, an indicative program (timeline), preliminary financial analysis of investment required and potential income from the design strategy. The feasibility analysis and design strategy should include a minimum of 1 rendered 3D image of a conceptual solution for the nominated area and be a maximum of 6 power point slides that can clearly be understood. Clear and succinct communication is essential.

NB: This option cannot be taken concurrently with Marty Bignell's 'Tall Timber' Selective, or Fred Fiahlo’s Design studio (as these also have field trips planned during the mid-semester break). In the event that this option is oversubscribed, then, in addition to the normal preferencing system, priority may be given to students who have not previously undertaken a travel selective or studio, and students who have successfully completed the undergraduate Aboriginal Architecture elective.
Shaneen will be in Brisbane to meet with her Selective group on Tuesday August 1 2017, other regular meetings will take place via skype in an allocated room in the School of Architecture, and normally be 1 hr in duration. A schedule of these will be distributed by the Seminar Leader.


Architecture Research Thesis

ARCH7052 Architectural Research Thesis provides an avenue for students seeking to extend a previous Architectural Research elective undertaken in the Masters of Architecture into a supervised independent research project. Thesis is open to eligible students of the Master of Architecture who have or expect to have a GPA of 5.5 or above; have the support of a potential advisor on the topic outlined on the following pro forma; and where the enrolment pattern fits their study plan.

ARCH7062 Architectural Research Thesis is the development of an independent research project that extends a topic relevant to the discipline of architecture. Topics include architectural and environmental design, technology, practice, history, theory, heritage, and people-environment studies. This course is available to students who have completed two of the following: ARCH7012, ARCH7022, ARCH7032 and ARCH7042.

The Course Coordinator (Professor John Macarthur in Semester 2, 2017) will decide on applications in consultation with the proposed advisor. 

Applications are due by Friday 14 July, by email to John Macarthur. You should begin by discussing topics with a potential advisor. The application should follow the headings in the template below.  Please keep the application to 2 pages maximum. Name the file <YourFamilyName_ARCH7052> (or 7062) and also use this in the subject line of the email.

Download the Application Form.