PhD Supervision

HOME supervises PhD candidates across interdisciplinary teams. Below are our current PhD projects and students.


  • HDR student name: Bella Bower
  • Supervisors: Peter Enticott, Richard Tucker
  •  Do the buildings we create and spend a significant proportion of our lives within, contribute to changes in our emotional state and affect our overall psychological wellbeing? When it was shown that modifying animal housing with ‘enriching’ features to enhance sensory, cognitive, motor and social stimulation, resulted in behavioural, cellular and molecular alterations and the ability to delay disease onset, there was a paradigm shift in the neuroscience community about the effect and importance of the environment. However, the ethics and intricacies of controlling environmental factors with human models means much work is still needed to understand how the enrichment of our environment affects us, and what the individual thresholds to stimulation are. This project questions if the underlying design characteristics of interior built environments forms one of the key components of environmental enrichment, and whether this modulates neural networks involved in emotion regulation. During the study, ‘healthy’ adults will stand in a Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) where a built environment is projected which is devoid of contextual spatial use clues. The CAVE enables the participant to view their own limbs in the space, replicating regular visual experience of our surrounds. They will undergo electroencephalography (EEG), skin conductance resonance (SCR), heart rate (HR) and self-reports on mental state during this controlled immersion to uncover if the design characteristic of scale variation (stimulus) elicits: a) neural response in the brain; b) autonomic affect in the body; and c) conscious awareness which the participant is able to identify. As the built environment is complex and human experience (upbringing, cultural and contextual background) is extremely rich, data on socio demographics, personality and experience will be collected, as this may affect individual response. Scale has been selected in response to findings from deficit models (lesion studies, freezing of gait (FOG) in Parkinson’s) where neural and behavioural activity is impacted by scale of surrounds, giving an indication that this characteristic of the built environment is recognised by the brain. To control and confine the effect of environmental factors, exterior environments subject to weather and climatic change are not included in the scope of the project and Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) will be monitored to minimise the risk of contamination from variables responsible for physiological comfort (temperature, humidity, air quality, lighting and acoustic performance). With no models currently available to evaluate how design of the built environment effects emotion, this research aims to understand emotional and neurophysiological impact from exposure to scale in enclosed interior spaces. This will help us understand how to design interior spaces which contribute to optimal mental health.



  • HDR student name: Valerie Watchorn
  • Supervisors: Patsie Frawley, Richard Tucker, Dani Hitch
  • Universal design aims to maximise usability of built environments for all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for specialised design. There are no clear guidelines on universal design implementation but involvement of people with disabilities is encouraged. Co-design calls for user involvement across design processes and is promoted as a means of improving design outcomes and enhancing social inclusion. Through a series of qualitative case studies, this research aims to develop knowledge on how people with disabilities can participate in the co-design of public built environments, what factors serve as facilitators and barriers, and what outcomes are achieved.


  • Supervisors: Richard Tucker, Tuba Kocaturk, Mirjana Lozanovska
  • It has been widely suggested that hospital building design has significant influence on quality of care, healing processes and organisational efficiency. Despite the undeniable need for innovative designs in hospital buildings, the literature highlights the Research-Practice (R-P) gap as hindering innovation in hospital design, leading to repeating similar shortcomings and inaccuracies. This study shows such an understanding to be an oversimplification of innovation in hospital building design, which instead must be seen as a complex ecosystem with various inhabitants; meaning the R-P knowledge gap is only a small part of a more complex picture. Insufficient understanding of the nature of design innovation in hospital building design due to this oversimplification has critically impacted timely design innovations in this filed. The key aim of this thesis is to conceptualise the evolution of hospital building design and identify and explain the main factors triggering design innovation. A novel hybrid research design to Mixed Grounded Theory (MGT) methodology, with Charmaz constructivist paradigm, is developed as a new systematic way of constructing and interpreting the concepts and interconnections among them that triggered design innovation over the past 100 years. Here, two diagrammatic representations (network and arc diagrams) and their associated analytical frameworks are employed and augmented by qualitative and quantitative techniques provided by social network analysis (SNA) method. The aim is to understand the complex innovation ecosystem and leverage the big data analysis through the development of a human-centered approach that keeps both human and computational decision-making methods in the analysis loop. The prime analysis is achieved in four steps: 1) analysing the evolution of hospital design since the 1920s and providing a taxonomy of contributing factors, adopting actor-network theory as a rich theoretical lens; 2) conceptualising how contextual factors have triggered design innovations in a theoretical model based on complex systems theory – network approach; 3) examining the interrelationships between design innovations and contextual factors through characterising the structure of innovation networks, using SNA; and 4) developing an explanatory innovation framework elucidating the nature of innovation ecosystem in hospital building design that can inform further innovation in this field. This research highlights the main components of the innovation ecosystem, the most influential contextual factors, the most interrelated factors, and the overall behaviour of the innovation ecosystem in this field. This thesis represents both a taxonomy of concepts and an explanatory innovation framework, containing 617 interconnections between 146 factors classified across 14 categories: Architectural Movements, Urban Reforms, Research Developments, Advances in Medical Science, Technological Developments, Shifts in Attitudes Towards Health, Transition in Institutional Identity, Healthcare Policy, Political Shifts, Economic Shifts, Social Transformations, Developments in Health Service, Shifts in Organisational Culture, and Shifts in Natural Environment. In the innovation ecosystem, factors with constant influence on design innovation processes are Changes in Medical Practice, different Technological Developments, Economic Shifts, and Research Developments. It is suggested that fast and revolutionary interactions induced by these factors are as influential as the slow and evolutionary process of change caused by factors in the categories of Social Transformations, Transition in Institutional Identity, and Shifts in Attitude Towards Health. This study highly recommends that hospital designers consider the force of former sets of factors while embracing the technological changes in generating design innovations. Further, it is evident that the interdependent factors of distinct natures have impacted different fields of the research at certain times in relation to the sociotechnical priorities. As a result of these interactions, research outcomes have been translated into design practice effectively that generated design innovations in hospital building design. Mapping the impacts of contextual factors help hospital designers understand both their systemic impact on the ecosystem and the crucial act of other factors on their decisions. This new, systemic design thinking would not focus on distinct components of the system but consider the individual and combined impacts of different parts on the system behaviour. Moreover, the infrastructure of the innovation ecosystem suggests that the generation of design innovations generally occur through infrequent ways and is subject to links between heterogenous factors that are not mutually exclusive. Here, this study helps researchers, hospital designers, healthcare developers, policymakers, and stakeholders adopt a multidimensional outlook to further develop the system by representing and mapping the successful processes and prior interactions between less-examined contextual factors in this field. This knowledge also allows them to identify the potential collaborations between key players on multiple fronts in generating innovation processes and, in turn, promote the better design of hospitals.


  • HDR student name: SANAZ MEMARI
  • Supervisors: Tuba Kocaturk, Richard Tucker, Fiona Andrews
  • For years, the refurbishments of hospital buildings have provided the opportunity to extend their functionality and keep them in operation due to their flexible potential to adapt to new requirements. However, high rate of change, disruptive innovation, complex future trends, uncertainty, extreme events, changing patterns of disease and new models of care, just to name a few, increasingly challenge the future-readiness of hospital buildings. Today, the healthcare context is characterized by compatible priorities, budget limitations and value management exercises and pressure to assure short-term return-on-investment which question the strategies of flexible design. Thus, there is a need to rethink the use of redundancy strategies for hospital building design to optimise asset utilisation, increase efficiency and improve outcomes. This means that more than ever future-readiness is an important concern in hospital buildings and more ingenious approaches to flexibility are required to reliably reflect the future needs of these buildings. Despite the need for future ready hospital buildings, there is significant tendency to neglect long-term thinking. Yet there is a lack of coherent evidence on how to consistently add long-term value to hospital buildings during their lifecycle to avoid early obsolescence against rapidly changing demands. As a dynamic system approach, “future proofing” has been proposed against uncertainty of future in healthcare. Since future-proof design addresses several “-ilities” as design considerations – such as changeability, adaptability, flexibility etc., – it seems that future-proofing includes much broader items than just flexibility. But it might be asked – can we really architecturally proof buildings against an unpredictable, uncertain future, especially in the design context of hospital buildings where the rate of change means that the future can appear to arrive very quickly? This thesis posits that answering this question requires deep understanding of the concept of future proofing within the particular context of hospital building. However, there is a lack of knowledge regarding designing future-ready hospital buildings in sufficient depth and breadth. The research proposed here aims to explore how hospital design can benefit from future proofing approaches. This aim will be achieved via five objectives: (1) critically analysing the usefulness of future proofing; (2) elucidating the concept of future proofing as a design approach; (3) mapping the normative architectural design process into different phases in the context of hospital building; (4) identifying which aspects of future proofing to incorporate into the architectural design of hospital buildings; and (5) understanding the changing role of architects in the design team when incorporating useful aspects of future proofing into the design process of hospital buildings. The research applies multi-method triangulation to collect data by multiple collection methods. The research design includes 5 phases namely, 1) literature review and document study, 2) open-ended discussion with architects, 3) semi-structured interview with architects, 4) validation by other stakeholders representing client interests, and 5) revision and integration of the findings. The research aims to identify those aspects of future proofing that hospital architecture can benefit from and suggest how these can be incorporated into the architectural design process of hospital buildings.


  • Supervisors: Richard Tucker, Mirjana Lozanovska, Fiona Andrews
  • The aim of this thesis is to inform a design model that is appropriate for terminally ill children that might build on and adapt precedents such as the Maggie’s Centre model. It explores the shared ground between architecture of healing spaces and paediatric illness through the concept of Maggie’s Centres. An exploration of the literature on healing spaces for adults and children will be used to inform an understanding of the suitability of the characteristics of Maggie’s Centres for seriously ill children and their families. To accomplish this goal,‎ ‏ ‏this thesis includes four stages. Firstly, ‎this study reviews the literature related to the philosophy of hospices and palliative care; and the literature on the design of healing spaces. Second, to understand the clinical, psychological and architectural needs of terminally ill children, a scoping review on all these aspects is completed. In this section of this research, up-to-date types of researches with the objective of finding variables, indicators and basic design principles for healing spaces for children with serious illnesses and their parents were reviewed. The process of health care for children along with its challenges and problems, and the success or shortcomings of all different kinds of architecture used in these spaces were considered. The critical review was to answer this question: What are the basic design principles for healing spaces for children with serious illnesses and their parents? the third phase, the critical analysis of the Maggie’s Centre Models will be done to identify criteria contributing to success of Maggie’s Centre Model. As Maggie’s Centres are spatial practices and understood as part of a broad architectural, social, conceptual and theoretical process; not only architects’ intentions, architectural documents and the philosophy of these centres are important but also what has been lived and experienced in these spaces is significant. Therefore, we are seeking to find common ground between perceived, conceived and lived space in Maggie’s Centres. It is notable that this does not mean that everything that the user has experienced is good or bad, but the overlap of perceptions, conception and experiences of what has been mentioned in the brief and the philosophy of Maggie’s Centre indicates whether the architect has been successful in the representation of their ideas. In this thesis, the definition of success in ”the successful Maggie Centre” is how much the constructed building and the conceived architectural space and space syntax has overlapped with what has been lived and experienced over time. In other words, is there any match between what the architect imagined and planned and what was experienced by the user? And if so, where is that lack of compliance, what does it mean, and does it affect the treatment process? In this section, at the same time, in addition to analysing Maggie’s Centres architectural drawings, we will use a ‎tool called a graph to analyse texts to find out overlaps between three moments of perceived, conceived and ‎lived space. Graph can help researchers as a tool to analyse texts. Finally, a detailed design brief will be written for a Young Maggie’s Centre – a place of healing for children with serious illness and their families. In this step we synthesize all data extracted from previous parts to develop a framework for adaption of Maggie’s Centre for end stage children. To determine principles of “Young Maggie Centre Model”, design principles of Maggie’s Centres that made them solvent healing spaces, which are identified from Maggie’s Centre critical analysis process, should be combined with design principles of effective healing spaces for children. This involves aggregation or synthesis of the findings to generate a set of statements that represent and categorizing the findings. Therefore, the results from these sections will outline the key theories, concepts, and critical considerations for developing the conceptual framework for the architecture of end stage children and their family as well as determining how Maggie’s Centre answers the needs of end stage young patients.


  • HDR student name: Elena Perera
  • Supervisors: Mirjana Lozanovska, Richard Tucker, David Giles
  • “Regenerative Collaborative Housing through Participatory Design: How participatory design can promote regenerative design outcomes”


  • HDR student name: Chris Cook
  • Supervisors: Richard Tucker, Yin Paradis
  • The study aims to determine a range of ‘Futures’ scenarios for Indigenisation of Australian planning education and the risks to momentum that ensure its progress. The objectives to be addressed are: • To identify transformation processes of Indigenous perspectives and issues in Australian planning and accredited education practice; • To evaluate the nature and level of Indigenous perspectives and issues experienced by practicing Victorian planners in accredited planning courses; • To determine the nature of the important knowns and unknowns facing Indigenous transformation in the accredited planning policy and education area in the future; • To develop alternative pathways for Indigenisation reform to progress in accredited planning policy and education under various conditions in the future. Problem While the planning sector experiences increasing engagement with Indigenous people and projects (PIA 2021), many planning services continue to severely impact First Peoples in Australia (ABS 2021; Altman 2020; Lowitja Institute 2019; Manning et al. 2018) because, dominant settlercolonial planning practice methodologies gather insufficient Indigenous reform momentum to disrupt them (Wensing & Porter 2016), Indigenisation of tertiary accredited planning education policy guidance and courses have not led to embedded Indigenous content and delivery approaches (Jones 2021), and planners are considered to have deficient Indigenous capabilities for effective engagement and decisionmaking (Cooke 2018; Gurran & Phibbs 2003, 2004; Low Choy et al. 2010, 2011a, 2011b; Jones 2021; Oberklaid 2008). Gap Indigenisation of the curricula, content, and delivery approaches are understood to re-design engaging and understandable Indigenous content and (Page et al. 2019; Powell et al. 2017; Rigney 2017) and integrate “Indigenous peoples’ values and aspirations” (PIA 2019), however, in an evolving colonial setting, planning education will continue to face powerful and obstructive forces that challenge momentum to reform (Langton 2019; Paradies 2016). An alternative approach is needed (Mayfield & Matunga 2017; Porter 2020; Prpic & McCarthy 2016), which this study proposes to explore in Indigenous ‘Futures’ scenarios, to ‘leapfrog’ remnant colonial resistance using the process of decolonised Indigenisation of planning education. Design/ methodology/ approach A varied set of perspectives from Indigenous, academic, and planning practitioner experts will be explored in a horizon scan of an interpretivist, constructivist paradigm framed by a decolonial and Appreciative Inquiry approach in a qualitative study of sequential integrated methods: Scoping desktop review of Indigenous planning education literature, particularly topics on ‘Inclusive Indigenisation’, ‘Reconciliation Indigenisation’ or ‘Decolonial Indigenisation’; • Snapshot survey of a stratified sample of 40 practicing public and private sector planners; Integrated information from the two surveys will be assessed during the: • Delphi collaborative workshops to produce consensus for Indigenous ‘Futures’ planning scenarios and recommendations for supportive elements for Indigenisation of planning education reform. Research limitations/ practical and social implications The proposed study with its Indigenous ‘Futures’ scenarios is limited to Indigenous research and will differ to other types such as conventional planning research. The proposed Indigenous planning ‘Futures’ conception is a useful device that will offer a new approach to strengthen momentum in Indigenous planning education reform for First Peoples, planning graduands and planning practitioners. The proposed research contributes to improving the quality of Western planning discourse, Indigenous engagement and decision-making process among the academic planning and built environment fields and professional planning community. Originality/ value The study is expected to mitigate the perplexity and difficulty caused by inconsistencies in momentum to embed an equal, contemporary Indigenous voice in the planning education discipline.


  • HDR student name: Angad Nayyar
  • Supervisors: Tuba Kocaturk, Richard Tucker, Fiona Andrews
  • Whilst the health and wellbeing impacts of the ambient environmental qualities of physical spaces have been well recognised, the relationship between user experience (UX), technology and architectural spaces are poorly understood. This thesis aims to question the role of UX in the interplay between form and function within the context of healthcare architectural design. This research builds on the idea that architectural design affords modes of engagement and that technology can be embedded within our built environment as architectural elements to create novel interactional experiences. In doing this, designers and placemakers must think about how digital technology may improve the existing qualities of a place and provide opportunities for engagement and serendipity. This enquiry will focus on the enhancement of user experiences within the healthcare context. The broad aim of this research is to examine how designers can address the changing agency of the built environment by utilising UX within architecture and healthcare design. The potential of UX is established through a 3-stage methodological approach consisting of: (1) a comprehensive multidisciplinary literature review, followed by (2) multiple case studies, informing (3) co-creative scenario-based design via focus groups and workshops with end-users for healthcare design contexts. These methods will examine the role of existing technology and the potential of new technologies to enhance user engagement, interaction, and overall satisfaction within physical healthcare spaces. The research will categorise, map, and synthesise the different contexts, user types, actions, technologies, design theories, frameworks, and integrated systems to enhance user experiences. Case studies, along with the synthesis of findings from the literature review, will inform scenario-based design. The findings will aim to inform appropriate digital innovation strategies to help clarify future thinking. By defining UX as a multidisciplinary concept, this thesis will investigate its role in healthcare architecture design and how technology may facilitate such integrations. This thesis is a systematic investigation into the origins of user experience so that the UX concept can inherently help develop ideas, niches, and frameworks that designers can use to quantifiably assess the experience as functionality, practicality, and comfort for the future typologies. Including technology as a crucial component of the design process may enhance building designs and patient outcomes significantly. Architects and planners may improve health outcomes by altering their design vision of technology, as the pandemic has underlined that architectural design has health impacts. The pandemic of COVID-19 has jolted the healthcare design community into thinking outside the box. The crisis has necessitated the use of technology and has hastened deployments in the past 18 months that may have taken many years.

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