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Architecture and Design Research

In the Discipline of Architecture and Design, we research materials, design, and architectural and urban futures from a uniquely situated and globally engaged location. Our expertise covers architecture, urban design, building performance, product design and material development, and technologically advanced processes of making – all related to the imperatives of ecological sustainability and social responsibility.

We engage and impact communities, industries, and professions through participatory and collaborative projects of varying scale and focus. Our research design processes connect with reflective teaching practices. In particular, our extensive ‘live’ projects are opportunities to experiment research explorations in design studios, we apply traditional approaches and emerging technologies to develop creative responses to real world challenges. We are especially interested in forging new knowledge about design, architecture and urban environments from a regional perspective.

We also research methods of construction and evaluate building performance in relation to ecological systems and human well-being. We investigate renewable and environmentally sustainable materials, technologies, and processes that are vital for a planet facing escalating demands for finite natural resources. Our research draws on the fields of material processing, design practice, and building manufacturing to make positive changes to the bio-economy and around built environments. We are passionate about research into climate-resilient, low-carbon living in the built environments of Tasmania, Australia, and beyond.

Within these fields, we project our environmental, social, and cultural explorations to sustainable developments around the globe. Our research is intrinsic to the University of Tasmania’s overall overarching themes of Environment, Resources and Sustainability, Creativity, Culture and Society as well as drawing on Data, Knowledge, and Decisions.

Our research is inherently multi-disciplinary, but can broadly be understood via three overlapping themes: ‘Constructed Ecologies’, Participatory Practices’, and ‘Mediating Meanings’. They are not rigid categories, but platforms for Architecture and Design researchers to collaborate with academic colleagues across other disciplines in the sciences, arts and humanities, as well as professionals, industry partners, government, communities and other institutions at regional, national and global levels.

Our research themes

  Study with us

Undertake an active research degree at Architecture and Design. We specialise in built environments, product design, building performance and sustainable material development, as well as advancing contemporary technologies and processes. Within these fields, you can join our existing projects or propose your explorations, whether creative, theoretical, or industry/practice-focused. Your thesis may be based on the rich design/architectural culture of Tasmania or other regions in Australasia, Southeast Asia, Japan and beyond, drawing on our global experience and expertise. You’ll have access to the latest fabrication and visualisation technologies in our Launceston workshops and studios. Join researchers who are constantly creating theoretical, design-based, collaborative, and participatory models of research practice to create future materials, products, buildings and cities that are socially and environmentally sustainable. Study with us if you are interested in exploring any of these areas, whether for their intrinsic interest, or as vehicles for your investigations into questions of sustainability, heritage, modernity, cultural identity, or social value.

Available Research Degree Projects

A research degree candidate may develop their own research project in collaboration with their supervisor or apply for one of our currently available projects below:

Applicants interested in a specific project should first contact the supervisor listed and then find out more about our Entry Requirements, Scholarships if relevant, and then Apply Now.

Closing Date

1st January 2021*

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

*unless filled earlier

The Research Project

Green building certification systems, such as LEED for Schools and the Living Building Challenge, encourage design teams to use green buildings as educational "teaching tools." However, we have much yet to learn about the social performance of green buildings and how to engage occupants in the sustainability narrative of buildings. This project seeks to remedy that gap through understanding the mediated meanings of sustainable building features. 

Dr. Georgia Lindsay has been studying the problem using green museums in the US. Increasingly, museums are using green-building construction practices for new buildings, and some go so far as to consider the surrounding landscape as part of the museum's "collection" to be preserved. Moreover, with the growth of the Green Economy, sustainability has a cache among institutions and businesses seeking to build green branding. Science museums, especially those with green buildings, are uniquely positioned to advance architectural literacy while communicating the values of earth stewardship to the general public.

Georgia invites expressions of interest from those interested in pursuing research about how architecture communicates sustainability. Topics might include green museums in a global or Australian context, sustainability communication in building types other than museums, and how to invest architecture with legible pedagogical content. Please note, while this project has aspects that strongly align with the technical side of building science, projects should propose move beyond the merely technical to engage in some way with the social or communicative aspects of green buildings.

Eligibility
  • The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international candidates
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills
  • Ability to create a compelling proposal and expression of interest
  • Background in social science or design fields
  • Demonstrated capacity in critical thinking
  • Evidence of an ability to understand, apply and critique theory

See the following web page for entry requirements: www.utas.edu.au/research/degrees/what-is-a-research-degree

Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the listed Supervisor. Information and guidance on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

Information about scholarships is available on the Scholarships webpage.

More Information

Please contact, Georgia Lindsay for further information.

Closing Date

1st January 2021*

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

*unless filled earlier

The Research Project

Dr. Georgia Lindsay invites expressions of interest from those interested in undertaking a PhD. Broadly speaking, Georgia's research emphasizes the human side of design, including pre-occupancy analysis and programming, use and behaviour-focused post-occupancy evaluation, and studying the meaning and effects of architecture. More specifically, her work focuses on museum buildings, and how architecture is used by institutions and cities to communicate values and brand places. 

Working with Georgia will allow you to define and develop your own area of focus. Some general areas might include:

  • Making meaning within constructed ecologies – projects that help frame and analyse how sustainable building features   are used and understood
  • Understanding and responding to participatory practices in design  – studies relating to stakeholder and community needs, including addressing mixed methods for both engagement and data collection practices
  • Branding and communication – projects investigating the social uses  and meanings inherent in architecture and design at a variety of levels of analysis

Students work with supervisory teams of at least two, and other supervisors might include David Beynon, Julian Worrell, or Ceridwen Owen.

Eligibility
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills
  • Ability to create a compelling proposal and expression of interest
  • Background in social science or design fields
  • Demonstrated capacity in critical thinking
  • Evidence of an ability to understand, apply and critique theory

See the following web page for entry requirements: www.utas.edu.au/research/degrees/what-is-a-research-degree

Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the listed Supervisor. Information and guidance on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

Information about scholarships is available on the Scholarships webpage.

More Information

Please contact, Georgia Lindsay for further information.

Closing Date

1st January 2021*

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

*unless filled earlier

The Research Project

Associate Professor David Beynon invites expressions of interest from those thinking of undertaking a PhD into the cultural, historical and compositional dimensions of architecture.

Dave’s research involves investigating, and adaptations of architectural content and meaning in relation to urban renewal, migration, and multicultural/intercultural aspects of architecture and built environments.  Areas of possible thesis investigation within the project include:

  • Architecture, migration and changing built environments
  • Alternative Architectural Histories, particularly in relation to notions of modernity and postcoloniality
  • Inter-Regional Architectural Futures: Analysing parallels between Tasmania and other Asia-Pacific locations
  • Digital Heritage: Developing modelling and visualisation technologies for interpreting and visualising ancient and historic architectures
  • Ex-Industrial Built Environments: Developing the cultural and practical re-purposing for a post-industrial future.

Explorations may employ historiographic, discursive or creative methods. Depending on your individual research topic, potential co-supervisors may include: Dr Georgia Lindsay; Dr Helen Norrie; Dr Mark Sawyer; Dr Louise Wallis; Professor Julian Worrall

If your topic brings a specific interdisciplinary focus to the above area, co-supervision might also include academics from Geography and Spatial Science, Information and Communication Technology or Arts and Social Sciences.

Eligibility
  • The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international candidates
  • The degree can be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a First Class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial academic research experience evidenced by peer-reviewed publications
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills

While candidates from other disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply, knowledge and skills that will be ranked highly include:

  • Background in architecture, urban design, urban planning or related social sciences. Depending on which area of investigation you are focusing on, background in cultural studies, digital modelling, archaeology or particular regional studies may be advantageous
  • Demonstrated capacity in critical thinking
  • Evidence of an ability to understand, apply and critique theory

See the following web page for entry requirements: www.utas.edu.au/research/degrees/what-is-a-research-degree

Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the listed Supervisor. Information and guidance on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

Information about scholarships is available on the Scholarships webpage.

More Information

Please contact, David Beynon for further information.

Closing Date

1st January 2021*

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

*unless filled earlier

The Research Project

The University of Tasmania is undertaking a development project, shifting towards engaging closely with central business districts and connecting more closely with communities. According to the website, the new campuses built under the Northern Transformation Project (NTP) “will become central to the life of each city and region – vibrant places where the community, business and industry, and the University can connect and collaborate.”

This project will use the NTP as the topic and site of research. Students could propose projects to work with a variety of Architecture and Design staff, including:

  • Work with Dr. Georgia Lindsay on understanding the social outcomes of the building project. Georgia’s research focuses on how institutions use buildings to create identity and branding, to connect with community, and to educate. She welcomes project proposals in that realm.
  • Work with Dr. Mark Sawyer to articulate how the NTP has developed through various forms of ‘media-construction’ in the public realm, even before any building has begun. Mark’s research considers how the development of buildings and cities is understood by representations in the media. He welcomes proposals addressing this area of interest.
  • Work with Dr. David Beynon on exploring the cultural implications of transforming built environments, focusing on post-industrial landscapes as foundations for redefining the futures of regional cities, and the roles of art, architecture and communities in the transformation process.
Eligibility
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills
  • Ability to create a compelling proposal and expression of interest
  • Background in social science, media studies, or design fields
  • Demonstrated capacity in critical thinking
  • Evidence of an ability to understand, apply and critique theory

See the following web page for entry requirements: www.utas.edu.au/research/degrees/what-is-a-research-degree

Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the listed Supervisor. Information and guidance on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

Information about scholarships is available on the Scholarships webpage.

More Information

Please contact, Georgia Lindsay for further information.

Closing Date

1st January 2021*

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

*unless filled earlier

The Research Project

Bamboo has been utilised as a construction material for thousands of years and has a strong connection to local craft in various cultures around the world. Whilst there is a strong intrinsic knowledge of bamboo within these societies, it is only within the last 50 years that designers and academics have begun to thoroughly research the capacity of bamboo to be utilised a contemporary building material. This has process has led to seminal projects that have structurally pushed bamboo beyond what it was traditionally capable of through the development of new methods of connection and treatment.

However bamboo faces a number of challenges when utilised as a round pole. The proposed PHD would look to investigate how bamboo has been traditionally utilised in construction and how the lamination of bamboo strips into engineered bamboo products offers an opportunity for bamboo to become a standardised product that can be utilised in mainstream construction. The project would focus upon a proposed case study of utilising laminate bamboo elements to prefabricate housing stock whilst also documenting the process of manufacturing this product from harvest to construction.

Eligibility
  • The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international candidates
  • The degree can be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a First Class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial academic research experience evidenced by peer-reviewed publications
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills

While candidates from other disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply, knowledge and skills that will be ranked highly include:

  • Background in architecture, engineering and/or specialist knowledge of bamboo and/or construction systems
  • Demonstrated capacity in critical thinking

See the following web page for entry requirements: www.utas.edu.au/research/degrees/what-is-a-research-degree

Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the listed Supervisor. Information and guidance on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

Information about scholarships is available on the Scholarships webpage.

More Information

Please contact, Helen Norrie for further information.

Closing Date

31st January 2021*

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

*unless filled earlier

The Research Project

Associate Professor Ceridwen Owen is seeking expressions of interest from prospective HDR students interested in the complex relationships between the design of the environment and health and wellbeing. The shift from pathogenic (factors causing disease) to salutogenic (factors supporting health) approaches in healthcare has seen an increased emphasis on and understanding of the role of design in promoting health and wellbeing. Projects can explore psychological as well as bio-physical health outcomes across a diversity of contexts and scales encompassing cities, buildings, spaces and objects.

Potential topics include:

  • Critical and conceptual interpretations of therapeutic landscapes as they relate both to healthcare settings, urban environments and/or public institutions
  • The intersection between design and health in acute care settings
  • Design for cognitive and sensory diversity
  • Neuroscience and design

Explorations may employ a range of qualitative research methods. Of particular interest are projects that integrate visual-based, creative and participatory design approaches.

Candidates will typically be supervised by colleagues across multi-disciplinary teams relevant to the specific project including Geography, Health Science, Medicine and Nursing.

Eligibility
  • The project is open to Australian and New Zealand (domestic) candidates and to International candidates.
  • Research must be undertaken on a full-time basis
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a first-class Honours degree, Research Masters or Masters by Coursework with a substantive research component or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial academic research experience evidenced by peer-reviewed publications and/or creative works
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research, critical thinking and analytical skills

See the following web page for entry requirements: www.utas.edu.au/research/degrees/what-is-a-research-degree

Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the listed Supervisor. Information and guidance on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

Information about scholarships is available on the Scholarships webpage.

More Information

Please contact, Ceridwen Owen for further information.

Closing Date

15th July 2020

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

The Research Project

The Centre for Sustainable Architecture with Wood is inviting applications for a PhD scholarship to study the effectiveness of timber durability treatments and short duration durability assessment techniques in Australian conditions using Australian timber species. The successful applicant will be based in Launceston, Tasmania, and will work with a team of HDRs, postdoctoral researchers and senior technicians focussed on timber research.

As a bio-based building material, timber is vulnerable to fungal decay, insect attack and other hazards. Various factors influence the durability of timber in the built environment, including building design, preservative treatments and other types of timber modification, as well as species specific biological characteristics. New knowledge is needed to support the Australian timber industry to increase the durability of hardwoods with low natural durability.

This research is affiliated with a series of eight current R&D projects funded by National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) competitive research grants and specifically linked to the NIFPI research project, titled: 'New methods of reliably demonstrating species durability in commercially relevant time frames'.

The research will involve fieldwork and collaboration with the University of the Sunshine Coast's National Centre for Timber Durability & Design Life and Tasmanian timber industry partners.

Eligibility
  • The scholarship is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international candidates
  • The degree must be undertaken on a full-time basis and based in Launceston
  • Applicants must already have a First or Upper Second-Class Honours degree, hold equivalent qualifications, or relevant and substantial research or professional experience in an appropriate sector
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research, analytical and design skills
  • The incumbent's selection will be based on their expertise in timber, durability, and their interest in sustainability and manufacturing with Tasmanian hardwood species

See the following web page for entry requirements: www.utas.edu.au/research/degrees/what-is-a-research-degree

Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the listed Supervisor. Information and guidance on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

Information about scholarships is available on the Scholarships webpage.

More Information

Please contact, Kyra Wood for further information.

  Partner with us

Architecture and Design at the University of Tasmania has a long history of working effectively with communities, industries, governments, professional associations, institutions and non-profit enterprises. Fostering partnerships is integral to maximising the impact of our research and teaching, with our successful collaborations spanning architecture, urban design, material technologies and product design. As well as broadening and strengthening the relationships we have with our current partners, our talented researchers welcome the opportunity to forge relationships with new partners to create mutually beneficial research outcomes and deliver real social, environmental and economic benefits at a local, regional, national and global level.