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Architectural Theory and History

Developing architectural theory and understanding history

We are a group of emerging and established scholars in the architectural humanities that explores a wide range of topics and problems in contemporary architectural theory and architectural history. 

Academic activities are focused around three groups:

  • Architectural Theory Lab- ATL
  • Histories of Architecture and Built Environment group - HABEg
  • Asia-Pacific Architecture Collaborative  - APAC

Architectural Theory Lab

The Architectural Theory Lab of the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning focuses on the critical and cultural forces that constitute architecture.  The core expertise of the group is in exploration of the key philosophical and theoretical movements that surge through architecture and its discourse. The group engages with architecture in terms of its philosophical, historical, political, aesthetic, ethical and cultural circumstance. The Lab does this in order to better understanding and challenge prevailing positions and practices in architecture, and as an opportunity to expose architecture to the multiplicitous discourses that constitute it. Key outputs of the group fall under the ARC FoR 120103 Architectural History and Theory code in the areas of architectural theory and criticism.

Lab Coordinator: Professor Chris L. Smith

Our researchers

Histories of Architecture and Built Environment group (HABEg)

The HABE group is engaged in historical work on the design, use and status of architecture and the built environment broadly conceived. Scholars in this research group have expertise in the architectural, urban and landscape histories of North America, Asia, Europe, and the Pacific. A strong concentration of its researchers are concerned with the history of buildings, property, and infrastructure in Australia. HABE supports scholarship on environmental, institutional and intellectual histories of architecture, technologies of real estate and colonisation, and the contours and meaning of architectural practice and the profession. 

Lab Coordinators: Associate Professor Cameron Logan and Professor Andrew Leach

Our researchers

Asia-Pacific Architecture Collaborative APAC

This collaborative lab examines environmental and humanitarian issues involving architecture and cities in the Asia-Pacific region. We address historical and contemporary problems that are of interest to the public, experts, and scholars in the fields of architectural history and theory, environmental studies, law, migration studies, refugee studies, and urbanism. This lab brings together high-calibre researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds to work on pressing questions related to climate change, forced displacements and migration, and legality and sovereignty in cities. Our projects involve international outreach and engagement with other universities based in Europe, the US, and Asia.

Lab Coordinator: Dr Jennifer Ferng

Our researchers 

– Professor Duanfang Lu

– Professor Donald McNeill

– Dr Daniel Ryan

– Dr Pranita Shrestha

Honorary researchers 

– Dr Arianna Brambilla

– Dr Luke Hespanhol