UNSW Built Environment: BE Student Andrea Wechsler Wins Best Paper

24 05 2011

UNSW Built Environment Master of Research student Andrea Wechsler recently presented a paper at The First International Postgraduate Conference on Engineering, Designing and Developing the Built Environment for Sustainable Wellbeing, which was held in April at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.

This is a peer reviewed conference and Andrea’s paper titled Sustainable Furniture panel composites from forestry and food industry by-products in Australia, presented in the theme Energy, Environment and Sustainability, won the best paper in the theme.

Andrea’s paper was based on part of her research which compared polypropylene based materials and different fillers: macadamia shells, pine cones and eucalyptus capsules with traditional wood plastic composites with pine wood fillers.

We would like to congratulate Andrea on this achievement

Click here for more information on the eddBE 2011 Conference.

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UNSW Built Environment: Has the public lost faith in the Sydney planning system?

4 03 2011

UNSW Built Environment Professor Bill Randolph has recently written an article for the Sydney Morning Herald about loss of public faith in the Sydney planning system. Professor Randolph, Director of the UNSW City Futures Research Centre, and Associate Dean for UNSW Built Environment Research argues that the free market will continue to fail people looking for affordable housing in Sydney unless the state government takes action.

Read more about Professor Randolph’s opinion piece on the UNSW News page, or the full article at SMH online.





UNSW Built Environment: 2010 Excellence in Research Initiative

1 03 2011

The University of New South Wales has been ranked the 4th highest university in Australia for Research excellence by the 2010 Excellence in Research (ERA) Initiative. Overall, the UNSW Built Environment was ranked highly against its competitors, receiving a high average score of 3 out of 5 for its combined Built Environment disciplines.   Among the separate discipline areas, Property and Construction Management research and Urban and Regional Planning research were both ranked in the highest scoring group of Universities in these two discipline areas, each scoring a 4.

The Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative assesses research quality within Australia’s higher education institutions. It provides a comprehensive overview of the quality of research undertaken in higher education institutions across the country in an international context.

The outcomes of the ERA 2010 process are available on the Australian Research Council (ARC) website .

Please see the below article, published in The Australian Newspaper for the thoughts of Les Field, UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor and others involved in the higher education industry regarding the 2010 ERA outcomes.

The Australian – Excellence in Research for Australia lays bare research myths





UNSW Built Environment Research: Laura Goh

16 06 2010

Hi Everyone,

Well it’s already the end of Semester 1 and so much as happened since my last post in November 2009! The biggest news – I AM BACK AT UNSW! No, no don’t panic – I didn’t fail my undergraduate thesis…actually I have just started my PhD!

The first questions most people ask me when they hear that I am in my sixth straight year of uni is ‘Are you mad?’ Well, actually – yes I am (obviously). So why did I decide to do the PhD? Well, whilst writing my undergraduate thesis I felt that I didn’t have enough time to explore all the aspects that I wanted to on my topic area. My supervisors encouraged me to think about turning my undergraduate work into something bigger, as well as apply for a post-graduate research scholarship. For anyone thinking about postgraduate research degrees check out the UNSW Graduate Research School Website or UNSW BE Future Students page .

I have been offered an Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship for three years, which will help to cover my living expenses whilst I am doing my PhD. I don’t think it would have been possible for me to do the PhD without the scholarship – so I am very thankful for the support. I have a desk in the lovely new PhD Lab in the Red Centre. We have a fabulous view of the University Walk and the Village Green, as well as our own little kitchen for heating up our lunches and making millions of cups of tea (note: this blogger is a tea-addict).

At the moment I am at uni four days a week and still working as a planner one day a week. I have started doing some lecturing and tutoring work for a couple of the undergraduate planning subjects, which is a lot of fun! I was even luck enough to go up to Kurri Kurri with the Third Year students on their strategic planning field trip!

Lots more soon – I think it’s time for a cup of tea!





UNSW Built Environment: Dean Alec Tzannes on Research

10 06 2010

Research at UNSW Built Environment is important for our faculty’s reputation, as it is critical to attracting students, funding and future staff. Research now includes recognition for creative work and design-based research to parallel more conventional modes and outcomes.

The world media, it seems to me, is increasingly turning its attention to university research, supporting opinions and community debate on relevant issues.  If my observation is true, it suggests that the importance of research is accelerating, giving more public recognition to those that do it. Perhaps media focus on research also provides an incentive for government and industry to improve financial support for universities more generally.

At BE, understanding the cultural dimensions and contribution of the design elements forming our physical environment continues to be a significant research theme.

Another theme that is emerging addresses the challenges of developing a more sustainable future from environmental, social and economic perspectives. As urbanisation intensifies, many new social and physical conditions emerge of research interest.

One way BE aims to engage with the global issues and enhance the broad range of ongoing and potential research is by focusing our research activities into clusters around themes. Examples of clusters include:

•    Urban Consolidation;
•    Design History and Theory;
•    Healthy Cities; and
•    Urban IT (or Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Many of these clusters support an interdisciplinary research structure potentially enhancing the scope and potential impact on society.

If the faculty is to cluster its research into themes, what do you think are appropriate themes? 

What does the theme ‘design in research’ mean to you and what might it entail for the faculty?

I encourage all of you to comment and welcome your advice and recommendations. Your input will help us to best organise our programs or whatever) to aid us to develop world-class research material and results on a topic of increasing relevance to our faculty.





SENSORY DESIGN ON TWO FRONTS – Architecture and Urban design

16 06 2009

Minu Lee, Bachelor of Architecture (Honours)

As part of my honours thesis this year, my research is based on the belief that if we as designers are to enhance people’s experience in the city, we need to broaden our spectrum of our senses such as vision, smell, sound, touch and taste. Senses have gained significant interest within design practice and design research over the past few decades, and it is true indeed, that we can no longer ignore the important role that senses play in the built environment.

At the same time, it is also true that this notion of sensory design has been significantly underplayed in the field of architecture and the broader urban design.

My purpose in carrying out this research is to provide a new perspective in the field of urban design and architecture by identifying literatures that provide an understanding of the senses in both fields by examining key precedents that lend insight into the potential for sensory-rich designs. Through analysing the values and ideas of the senses in the larger scope of urbanism as well as specific focus of architecture, the aim of this research is to explore and understand the engagement of all our senses, not just the visual, in attempting to see how we can change the way city is read.

My design proposal was to date, carried out in light of the literature reviews dedicated to the position sensory design have in the profession of architecture and urban design today.

The outcome is to produce a model based not just on relevant precedents carried out by different architects, it is also to best understand the City of Sydney Council’s recent, varying urban scale measures and guidelines that are increasingly emphasising the need to engage our senses in everyday life.

For the profession, the outcome would be a reflection of the significance in engaging our senses, not just to the individual architecture, but to a greater focus on our urban future and how we would be able to associate our human feelings in the midst of such rapidly changing city. For me, the success of this thesis will not be measured solely on gaining greater understanding and implementing such concepts.

As a student, through critical, in-depth analysis of diverse literatures, the ultimate aim is to test out how my perspective towards design improves in light of studying wide range of literatures.

As mentioned in the beginning, what I have gained throughout the process can be judged on its relevance to the intended outcome of providing a new perspective in the field of urban design and architecture by analysing the findings and, eventually, testing the findings by seeking to apply them to related built forms in Sydney.

There is no doubt much more thinking and analyses of the literatures are required, as well as detailed enquiry into selected precedent studies, which will be pursued in the following semester.