Dr Timothy O'Rourke

Senior Lecturer in Architecture

School of Architecture, Design and Planning
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
t.orourke@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 53848
0439799907

Overview

Tim O’Rourke's research investigates past and present applications of cross-cultural design across different building types and settings. Such projects often require multi-disciplinary approaches to the study of architectural problems, informed by the histories of buildings and the people who use them. A Discovery Project on healthcare architecture combined different research methods to ask if design can improve the experience and participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in hospitals and clinics.

Tim's current research focuses on the design and social histories of Indigenous housing from the 1950s assimilation era to the 2000s. These studies seek to answer questions about design intentions and the origins, development and evaluation of architectural methods that improved public housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. His PhD examined the history and use of Aboriginal building traditions in the Wet Tropics Region of Queensland. He has contributed to a range of research projects related to Indigenous housing, settlements and landscapes. Research topics include self-constructed dwellings and vernacular building technologies, cultural tourism, adaption to climate change and housing sustainability. Results from these studies have been published in technical reports, conference proceedings, journals and book chapters.

Tim is a registered architect, having worked in architectural practices in Brisbane and Sydney, and he maintains an interest in timber construction and joinery. As a sole practitioner, he has designed residential projects and worked on a range of building types for Aboriginal communities. He teaches architectural technology and design and has offered a range of research topics in the Master of Architecture program.

Memberships

Fellow Australian Institute of Architects

Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand

Environmental Design Research Association,

Research Interests

  • Evaluating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing
    This research seeks to analyse and evaluate the architectural design, construction and use of Indigenous housing. The primary aim of this research is to add to the limited empirical evidence on Indigenous housing, which can influence both policy and practice.
  • Histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing
    The aim of this research is to examine recent histories of Indigenous housing and settlement planning to evaluate current policies and design practices. Historical methods include archival research and oral histories with architects, householders and policy-makers. The study considers how place-based or regional housing histories can be used to inform consultative design practices and improve state housing policies.
  • Infrastructure design for protected areas
    This research asks how the design of infrastructure and capital works in national parks can both improve user experiences and mitigate threats to biodiversity and cultural heritage. The multidisciplinary project seeks to evaluate and learn from design precedents located in regions with different landscape types.
  • Traditional Aboriginal built environments
    This research examines the construction and use of dwellings and camps by different Aboriginal groups across periods ranging from early contact to contemporary self-constructed environments. These studies inform debates on material culture, identity and cultural heritage, and architectural history. Socio-spatial and behavioural analyses of these environments can be used to inform mainstream architectural practice.
  • Cross-cultural design of healthcare architecture
    A multi-disciplinary project elicited data on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' perceptions, experiences and use of healthcare settings in urban, regional and remote locations. The aim of the research is to make evidence-based design recommendations on the spatial characteristics and architectural features that might improve participation in health services and ameliorate stress associated with different types of healthcare settings.

Research Impacts

Ongoing research on the disparate histories of Indigenous housing seeks to identify precedents and design approaches relevant to improving the architectural design of social housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The aim of research on healthcare architecture for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is to influence policies and design practices that improve the design of hospitals and clinics for Indigenous Australians.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor (Honours), The University of Queensland

Publications

View all Publications

Grants

View all Grants

Supervision

  • Master Philosophy

  • Master Philosophy

  • Master Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • This project investigates the origins and practice of cross-cultural design through studies of local, state and national programmes for Indigenous housing. With a focus on the last four decades of the twentieth century, topics include approaches to architectural design, construction methods and different types of residential evaluation. This project is based on the premise that these histories of design, combined with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander householder narratives, are relevant to the current crises in social housing for Indigenous Australians this century.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book

Book Chapter

  • Timothy O'Rourke (2023). Adaptive uses of traditional windbreaks and bough shades for Indigenous housing in Australia. Design and the Vernacular: Interpretations for Contemporary Architectural Practice and Theory. (pp. 105-116) edited by Paul Memmott, John Ting, Tim O'Rourke and Marcel Vellinga. London, United Kingdom: Bloomsbury. doi: 10.5040/9781350294349

  • O'Rourke, Timothy, Mapar, Mandana, Memmott, Paul and Aird, Michael (2022). Camps, cottages and homes: an introduction to the exhibition. Camps, cottages and homes: a brief history of Indigenous housing in Queensland. (pp. 4-17) edited by Timothy O'Rourke and Mandana Mapar. Brisbane, QLD, Australia: The University of Queensland, School of Architecture.

  • O'Rourke, Timothy (2022). Cherbourg Prefab: Aboriginal-built housing for Queensland. Camps, Cottages and Homes: A Brief History of Indigenous Housing in Queensland. (pp. 82-91) St Lucia, QLD Australia: The University of Queensland.

  • O'Rourke, Timothy (2022). Housing Commission Homes in Suburbia. Camps, Cottages and Homes: A Brief History of Indigenous Housing in Queensland. (pp. 106-113) edited by Timothy O'Rourke and Mandana Mapar. St Lucia, QLD Australia: The University of Queensland.

  • O'Rourke, Timothy (2022). Native cottages and time for "the new order of things". Camps, Cottages and Homes: a brief history of Indigenous housing in Queensland. (pp. 42-51) edited by Timothy O'Rourke and Mandana Mapar. St Lucia, QLD, Australia: School of Architecture, The University of Queenslabd.

  • O'Rourke, Timothy (2022). State designs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing. Camps, Cottages and Homes: A Brief History of Indigenous Housing in Queensland. (pp. 62-73) edited by Timothy O'Rourke and Mandana Mapar. St Lucia, QLD Australia: School of Architecture, The University of Queensland.

  • O'Rourke, Timothy (2018). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander domestic architecture in Australia. The handbook of contemporary Indigenous architecture. (pp. 25-56) edited by Elizabeth Grant, Kelly Greenop, Albert L. Refiti and Daniel J. Glenn. Singapore: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-981-10-6904-8_2

  • O'Rourke, Timothy (2018). Indigenous traditional knowledge and contemporary architecture in Australia. The handbook of contemporary Indigenous architecture. (pp. 413-432) edited by Elizabeth Grant, Kelly Greenop, Albert L. Refiti and Daniel J. Glenn. Singapore: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-981-10-6904-8_16

  • O'Rourke, Timothy and Memmott, Paul C. (2009). Sustaining Indigenous cultural tourism: Aboriginal pathways, cultural centres and dwellings in the Queensland wet tropics. Indigenous/Aboriginal tourism research in Australia (2000-2008): Industry lessons and future research needs. (pp. 78-79) edited by Pascal Tremblay, Aggie Wegner and Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism.. Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia: CRC for Sustainable Tourism.

  • O'Rourke, Tim and Memmott, Paul (2007). Constructing cultural tourism opportunities in the Queensland wet tropics: Dyirbalngan campsites and dwellings. Striving for Sustainability: Case Studies in Indigenous Tourism. (pp. 371-402) edited by J. Buultjens and D. Fuller. Lismore, NSW: Southern Cross University Press.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • O’Rourke, Timothy, Sully, Nicole and Chaddock, Steve (2023). From rambling to elevated walkways: piecemeal planning histories in national parks. The 39th annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand; 16th conference of the Australasian Urban History / Planning History Group, Auckland, New Zealand, 25 - 27 November 2022. SA, Australia: SAHANZ. doi: 10.55939/a5034pmvqv

  • O'Rourke, Timothy and Loy, Wei Win (2021). Architecture as Indigenous heritage: extant and virtual dormitories in Cherbourg. What If? What Next? Speculations on History’s Futures. 37th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, Perth, WA, Australia, 18-25 November 2020. SAHANZ.

  • O'Rourke, Timothy (2017). The Goorawin Shelter: Ed Oribin's contribution to the Aboriginal Housing Panel. Quotation: 34th Annual Conference of the Society of Architecutural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, Canberra, 5-8 July 2017. Canberra, Australia: SAHANZ.

  • O'Rourke, Timothy (2014). Architectural experiments in Aboriginal housing in the early 1970s. Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, 2-5 July 2014. Gold Coast, QLD, Australia: SAHANZ.

  • O'Rourke, Timothy and Memmott, Paul (2014). Rejection and reuse of traditional building technologies: case studies of two Aboriginal thatching materials. IASTE 2014: Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 14-17 December, 2014. Berkeley, CA, United States: International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments.

  • O'Rourke, Timothy and Greenop, Kelly (2014). Self-constructing sovereignty: Aboriginal housing and rights to land on Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia. 23rd IAPS Conference, Timisoara, Romania, 24-27 June 2014. Timisoara, Romania: Universitatii de Vest.

  • Timothy O'Rourke (2014). The influence of culture on reducing energy consumption: Aboriginal housing in arid regions of Australia. 30th International PLEA Conference 2014, Ahmedabad, India, 16-18 December 2014. Ahmedabad, India: CEPT University Press.

  • O'Rourke, Tim (2013). Aboriginal camps and ‘villages’ in Southeast Queensland. Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference, Gold Coast, Australia, 2–5 July 2013. Gold Coast, Australia: Society of Architectural Historians Australia & New Zealand.

  • O'Rourke, Timothy (2013). Water quality in Dajarra, Northwest Queensland. WSUD 2013: 8th International Water Sensitive Urban Design Conference, Gold Coast , Australia, 25 - 29 November 2013. Gold Coast, Australia: WSUD 2013 / Engineers Australia.

  • O'Rourke, T. (2012). Mining Aboriginal building traditions: a spinifex case study. The 6th International Seminar on Vernacular Settlements - ISVS, Farmagusta, North Cyprus, 19–21 April 2012. Famagusta, North Cyprus: Eastern Mediterranean University Press.

  • O'Rourke, Timothy (2011). Skill in Aboriginal building traditions: The wellcrafted mija. Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, 7-10 July 2011. Brisbane, QLD, Australia: Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ).

  • Gamage, H., De Silva, S., Flutter, N., O'Rourke, T., Memmott, P., Martin, D. and Schmidt, S. (2010). Green building materials from spinifex. XXIII IUFRO World Congress, Seoul, Republic of Korea, 23-28 August, 2010. United Kingdom: Commonwealth Forestry Association.

  • O'Rourke, Tim, Flutter, Nick and Memmott, Paul (2010). Prototyping spinifex as thermal insulation in arid regions of Australia. Australian and New Zealand Architectural Science Association (ANZAScA) Annual Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, 24-26 November 2010. Auckland, N.Z.: Architectural Science Association.

  • Memmott, Paul, Hyde, Richard and O'Rourke, Timothy (2009). Biomimetic theory and building technology: use of Aboriginal and scientific knowledge of Spinifex grass. 42nd Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Architectural Science Association (ANZAScA), Newcastle, NSW, Australia, 26-28 November 2008. Sydney, Australia: Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney. doi: 10.3763/asre.2009.0014

  • O'Rourke, Timothy (2009). The continuity and loss of Girramay building traditions. Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, 2-5 July 2009. Auckland, New Zealand: University of Auckland.

  • O’Rourke, Tim (2002). Notes on Dyirbalngan dwellings ethno-architecture in the rainforests of northeastern Queensland. XIX Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand, Brisbane, Australia, 4-7 October 2002. Brisbane, Australia: SAHANZ: Society of Architectural Historians, Australia & New Zealand.

Edited Outputs

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • This project investigates the origins and practice of cross-cultural design through studies of local, state and national programmes for Indigenous housing. With a focus on the last four decades of the twentieth century, topics include approaches to architectural design, construction methods and different types of residential evaluation. This project is based on the premise that these histories of design, combined with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander householder narratives, are relevant to the current crises in social housing for Indigenous Australians this century.