School of Architecture

We are interested in receiving applications for the specific projects listed below. Other related topics may be considered by negotiation, but prospective candidates are expected to relate their project directly to the existing work and interests of a staff member.


Principal advisor: Dr Tim O’Rourke

Aboriginal housing design and energy consumption

This project examines the interrelated problems associated with Aboriginal housing design, patterns of occupancy and energy consumption. Multidisciplinary methods and case studies within specific climatic zones will be used to evaluate the use, technology and architectural design of dwellings.


Principal advisor: Prof John Macarthur

Architecture as an art: aesthetic theory, taste and the institutions of the arts

Architecture has been considered an art, or not, for differing reasons. In Western culture these reasons have tended to follow two main branches, that of ‘the arts’ as a institution of cognate knowledges and practices, or through the concept of aesthetics, a human orientation to beauty in all of the material world both natural and artifactual. Projects within this stream might include intellectual history of art, architecture and philosophical aesthetics since the 18th century; the place of building and architectural representation in contemporary art practice; how standards of taste were formed historically and are today.


Principal Advisor: Prof Sandra Kaji-O'Grady

The Architectural Expression and Construction of Science

Contemporary institutions for experimental and applied science are increasingly investing in expressive, and expensive, architectures to give a persuasive face to its activities. What of earlier periods? The architecture of the laboratory from the alchemist's den of the 16th Century to the pharma campuses of the 21st requires greater attention than it has so far received in the History of Science. This project would complement current research on the contemporary laboratory.


Principal advisor: Dr Chris Landorf

Architectural Practice and Management: the future of the architectural profession and alternative models of practice.

Architectural Practice and Management, specifically issues relating to the future of architectural practice and the profession, and alternative models of practice.


Principal Advisor: Prof Sandra Kaji-O'Grady

Atmospheres and Air

Peter Sloterdijk has argued that our relationship to air changed fundamentally with the gas wars of the early twentieth century and the advent of the air-conditioned building. This research project will draw from his arguments and other key theorists to study the myriad ways in which air and atmosphere have been of architectural concern—metaphorically and through environmental engineering—in the twentieth and twentieth centuries.


Principal advisor: Prof John Macarthur

Building histories of Queensland architecture

Significant and sometimes undocumented archives on the work of Queensland architects are available for original study and analysis. Architects include Wilson Architects (1890s-present); Conrad Gargett Architecture (early 20th to the present); Bligh Voller Nield; James Birrell; Karl Langer; Job & Froud; Peter Heathwood; Eddie Oribin, and more.


Principal advisor: Dr Pedro Guedes

Colonial architectures and what they learnt from each other, indigenous practices and unfamiliar climates

An investigations related to the development of hybrid architectures that emerged in places that passed through phases of colonial occupation and exploitation of resources. The field encompasses the contributions made by various European and Asian cultures to the development of building and living patterns.


Advisors: Dr Silvia Micheli and Associate Professor Antony Moulis

Contemporary Queensland architecture

Since Expo 1988, Brisbane has quickly grown, modifying its form and its image. The project aim is to investigate the city's contemporary architecture with a focus on significant urban renewal and typological transformations. Works by Donovan Hill, Andresen O’ Gorman, Rex Addison, Richard Kirk and other Brisbane based practices will be objects of the research.


Principal advisor: Dr Deborah van der Plaat

Cosmopolitan colonies and their architectural consequences: the ethnic diversity of Queensland as an alternative to colonial/nationalist paradigms

Exploring the architectural histories of the sizable Chinese, German, and other communities in colonial Queensland, this project explores ideas of race, climate and place in the colonial context.


Advisors: Elizabeth Musgrave and Doug Neale

‘Drawing out’ design: Architectural design process

Investigation into the means by which architectural design organises its thinking and its practices. Research projects will contribute to ongoing inquiry into disciplinary knowledge and threshold concepts in architecture as a means of making design practices explicit.


Principal advisor: Dr Silvia Micheli

Ernesto Nathan Rogers 1909-69

Ernesto Nathan Rogers was a high-profile protagonist in the Italian and International architectural scene in the mid-20th century. As a Member of the BBPR office, director of the architectural journal Casabella, Professor at the Polytechnic of Milan, Rogers became the intellectual guide for a new generation of architects, including Aldo Rossi, Giancarlo De Carlo and Giorgio Grassi. This project aims to investigate Rogers' theoretical and design work to understand its present-day topicality and its impact at the international level.


Advisors: Dr Kelly Greenop and Dr Tim O’Rourke

Evaluating urban Indigenous housing

This project would carefully investigate Indigenous people's use of houses in urban areas. It would involve careful discussion with household residents about how they use their houses everyday and what they value in them. It may also investigate the materials, design, orientation and energy use of the house, depending on interest of the student.


Principal advisor: Dr Pedro Guedes

Extending the reach of Museums and Exhibitions through Design

An investigation related to collaboration between stakeholders and those engaged professionally in communicating cultural content to increasingly diverse audiences in museum and exhibition contexts. May contribute to reaching wider audiences, particularly those engaging with non-traditional methods of communication.


Principal advisor: Dr Deborah van der Plaat

Gender and architectural historiography

Increasing attention has been paid to the absence and under-recognition of the woman architect within architectural practice and history, but the genderedness of architectural historians and historiography has yet to be considered.


Principal advisor: Dr Chris Landorf

Heritage, Conservation, and the sustainable management of complex industrial landscapes

Heritage and Conservation, specifically issues relating to the sustainable management of complex industrial and other types of cultural landscapes.


Principal advisor: Dr Kelly Greenop

Mapping Brisbane's Aboriginal place heritage

This project would involve archival work to map, record and create a database of Brisbane's Aboriginal places from the colonial period, and fieldwork to examine and record the current state of any of these places. This could involve work with other advisors from outside architecture to engage with mapping technologies.


Principal advisor: Mr Andrew Wilson

Mid-twentieth century modernism of the SE Queensland Region

Investigations into mid-century modernism of the region by specific architects, collectives and partnerships. The particular focus will be aimed at architects whose

work has been forgotten or remains largely ignored such as Vitale Gzell, Theo Thynne and Associates, and Ford Hutton and Newell.


Principal advisor: Dr Kelly Greenop

Migrant experiences of place in Brisbane

This project would involve ethnographic study of migrant families’ experiences, attachment to, and identification with place. The aim would be to better understand the processes of place attachment and how significance of place is developed for migrants and their communities. Suggested case study sites and communities are Logan's Pacific Islander peoples; Inala's Vietnamese communities; Sunnybank's Chinese populations.


Principal advisor: Dr Pedro Guedes

Nineteenth Century innovations and inventions in building technologies relevant today

An investigation of innovative ideas in construction related to emerging technologies responding to opportunities in building practice. The field of interest extends to historical contexts that may inform the present.


Principal advisor: Prof John Macarthur

Picturesque Australasia

The aesthetic concept of the picturesque and, to a greater extent, the cultural practices associated with it were significant in the history of the European settlements in present day Australia and New Zealand. Projects suitable for Phd investigation include: the circulation of books of designs and advice on architecture and gardening; the role of mid 19th century publications on the aesthetic and agricultural potential of the colonies in powering immigration and expanded settlements; and the role of nature aesthetics in town planning.


Principal advisor: Dr Deborah van der Plaat

Race, place, taste and architecture in the colonial context.

Some recent attention has been paid to frontier housing, colonial conflict and architecture, but more work remains to be completed on ideas of race, hybridity and diversity in Queensland's colonial architecture, including ideas of disciplinarity in Australian architecture in the colonial period and nineteenth century, up until the present.