School of Architecture

Tuesday 2 April 2019

Australia’s architectural landscape was once missing a very important layer: the acknowledgement of a history of Indigenous architecture, landscape cultural histories and cultural needs of Australia’s Indigenous people.

Across the country, housing and community institutions such as hospitals, clinics and courthouses were being designed to cater for the functional and aesthetic needs of Anglo Australians, but failing to meet the cultural needs of Aboriginal communities.

Change has been decades in the making, with UQ researchers leading the way. In 1976, UQ established the Aboriginal Data Archive to focus on cultural safety in built environments – the first time research about Aboriginal architecture had been carried out in Australia.

Since then, the unit has grown to become the Aboriginal Environments Research Centre (AERC) – a research and teaching centre based in UQ’s School of Architecture that focuses on increasing awareness of culturally appropriate architecture for Australia’s Indigenous peoples.

Over the past 40 years, AERC researchers have worked tirelessly to change the way the architecture profession and government agencies think about culturally appropriate design, which has led to positive changes that are improving the lives of many Indigenous Australian communities.