Researcher biography

Susan is an architect, educator and researcher at the University of Queensland with expertise in architectural design histories and theories, heritage and sustainability, and design governance and policy. Susan has experience in leading cross-disciplinary research involving stakeholders in academia, industry and government. She has been involved in large-scale national and international funded research projects and has ongoing collaborations at the University of Ghent, supported by the UQ-UGhent Strategic International Partnership. At UQ she is a member of the ATCH Research Centre (Architecture, Theory, Culture, History).

Prior to her academic career Susan worked in architectural practice for over 10 years in Australia and the UK, gaining experience on a range of project scales and types including community, civic, housing and urban design. She maintains strong connections to industry and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects and has contributed to its education and gender equity committees, and regional and state awards programs in urban design, public architecture, residential design and art-architecture. She currently contributes to the AIA National Gender Equity Committee Research and Publication Taskforce.

Susan's current research follows three themes, which are explained further under Available Projects:

  • Material Values of the Built Environment: Heritage, Maintenance, Demolition, Salvage, Storage;
  • Design Expertise, Design Governance and the Architecture Profession; and
  • Quality in Architecture: Statements, Settings, Substance.

Susan is an author, editor or contributing author to 9 books. Her research and criticism is widely published in academic, professional and industry journals including Journal of Architecture, Interstices, European Journal of Creative Practices in Cities and Landscapes, AA Files, Leonardo, Fabrications and Architecture Australia. She regularly presents her research in national and international forums, including academic and industry conferences, at cultural institutions, and for continuing professional development. Susan has been an invited guest lecturer, guest critic and RHD guest critic at Ghent University, Monash University, and Griffith University. She has also been an invited chair and contributor to expert panels at the SCCI Architecture Hub Sydney, Museum of Brisbane, the UQ Art Museum and for the Committee for Brisbane. In 2012 Susan was a Visiting Professor in the VAMA (Visual Arts Media and Architecture) Masters Programme at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In 2013 she was an invited scholar at the Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte in Paris. In 2018 and 2023 Susan was a visiting researcher at UGhent. Susan has extensive experience in research collaboration, research mentorship and research leadership, and she regularly co-authors with academic and industry collaborators and students.

Susan has been the recipient of a number of competitive awards and grants for her research. She was a Chief Investigator on the ARC funded Discover Project Is Architecture Art?: A history of categories, concepts and recent practices(2016-2022) which analyses the changing place of architecture in culture and cultural administration. This project produced three books: Pavilion Propositions: Nine Points on an Architectural Phenomenon (2018), Trading Between Architecture and Art: Strategies and Practices of Exchange (2019) and Valuing Architecture: Heritage and the Economics of Culture(2020), numerous academic and industry publications, and convened two conferences. Susan was also a Chief Investigator on the ARC funded Discovery Project Campus: Building Modern Australian Universities (2016-2020), which brought together experts from five Australian Universities in an inter-disciplinary team to research the landscape, architecture, planning and heritage of modern univeristy campuses in Australia. She is a contributing author to Campus: Building Modern Australian Universities (UWA Press, 2023). In 2021-24 Susan is leading research on the participation and career experience of women in design leadership roles in Australia, with support from the Australian Institute of Architects. Her ongoing research with UGhent collaborators has recieved support from the UQ Global Strategy and Seed Funding Scheme.

Susan has contributed extensively to the leadership of the Architecture, Design and Planning School at UQ, most recently as Chair of Research (2022), Chair of Teaching and Learning (2018-21) and Academic Advisor for the Master of Urban Development and Design Program (2021). Her research also informs teaching and curriculum development in the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology at UQ. In 2021 Susan contributed to two projects to develop Indigenous and inter-cultural content for built environment and design education, as part of teams led by indigenous experts.


2023 UQ Global Strategy and Partnerships Seed Funding (with Ashley Paine and John Macarthur)

2019 UQ Promoting Women Fellowship

2010 David Saunders Founders Grant Award (SAHANZ) (with Jared Bird)

2000 QIA Medallion (Australian Institute of Architects, Qld Chapter)

2000 Board of Architects Prize (Board of Architects, Queensland)


Registered Architect, Board of Architects Queensland

Fellow, Australian Institute of Architects (FRAIA)

Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ)

Areas of research