Centre for Architecture Theory Criticism History
School of Architecture

Tropical Variety and Queensland Architecture (1850–1914): Building Better Understandings of the Culture of Architecture and Climate Change

Team: Project Timeframe: 2014 -

Western ideals of beauty have often been bound to an image of the natural world. Tropical climates and the physical environments they produced were also often seen to be degenerative to the creative impulse. In the mid-nineteenth century, in response to scientific exploration and the colonial experience, European ideals of beauty shifted their points of reference from temperate to tropical environments. Investigating architectural design in 19th century Queensland, the project seeks to understand how English theories on creative invention responded when transplanted into a tropical setting. The research will have significance in understanding Queensland’s history and the cultural corollaries of climate and environmental science. Documenting cultural products of climate change, the research will also complement emerging UQ research strengths in Climate Change and Architecture and Culture.

Related Publications: 
  • Catherine De Lorenzo and Deborah van der Plaat, ‘Sub-tropical tropes in contemporary design. Jean Nouvel’s Musee du quai Branly, Paris (2006)’, Sweat, Andrew McNamara (ed.) Brisbane: IMA, 2010. (in press, chapter accepted April 2009). (50% authorship)

  • Deborah van der Plaat, ‘Architectural wit: aesthetics, spectacle, and ideology in the Griffins’ proposed Capitol Building (Canberra 1912)’ in Skyplane, Richard Francis Jones, Lawrence Nield, Xing Ruan & Deborah van der Plaat (eds.), Sydney: UNSW Press 2009, 175-185. (100% authorship)

  • Deborah van der Plaat, ‘Architectural ignorance and public indifference: Harold Desbrowe-Annear’s Lecture on “Some Methods of Architectural Criticism”’ (1893), Fabrications: The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historian, Australia and New Zealand, 19:1 (2009), 163-175. (100% authorship).

  • Catherine De Lorenzo and Deborah van der Plaat, ‘Southern Geographies and the domestication of science in the photography of JW Lindt,’ Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, 7(1): 2006, 143-166. (50% authorship).