Researcher biography

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.


Fellow Australian Institute of Architects

Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand

Environmental Design Research Association,

Areas of research