Professor Michael Tawa

Phd, UNSW; Bachelor of Architecture (Honours), UNSW; Bachelor of Science (Architecture), UNSW.
Lecturer in Architecture: History and Theory

G04 - Wilkinson Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 1486

Biographical details

I am passionate about the capacity of design thinking and practice to engage curiosity and wonder. That passion extends into my research, writing, teaching and architectural practice.

I am fascinated by the way things (concepts, places, spaces, objects) are made – not only that they are made, but more so the way they come to be made. Consequently, I value process over product, and products only to the extent that they open up new perspectives and processes of thinking and making. I value the un-programmable, the uncertain, the makeshift, the incommunicable and the uncanny in language, the image, representation and architectural experience. My approach to teaching is that of an encounter with an equivalent fascination in the other, of a practice focused on opening up and mobilising sense through the project, around which the work hovers and proceeds.

I have worked on many fronts. My initial interest was in the symbolism of sacred architecture, framed by the works of Coomaraswamy, Guénon, Schuon, Eliade, Kollar and Snodgrass. Familiarity with the Platonic dialogues bred contempt for the limits of a mimetic and representation approach to art and architecture. Heidegger provided a bridge to continental philosophers who continue to influence my thinking and teaching – in particular Deleuze, Agamben and Nancy, who have shifted my orientation from logocentric certainty to the fluxions of sense, or to use a pre-modern turn of phrase, to the forest of symbols. I retain a fascination for words and for the interminable potential of semantic resonance. This is being explored through a work in progress, the on-line Design Lexicon. The intellectual shift from Platonic to continental philosophy is evident in my recent book on architecture and cinema, which argues against formalism and for a parallel move into the unprogrammable and fluxional propensity of architectural experience. I am working on a second monograph, Theorising the Project, which will explore how this could be played out productively in design thinking and practice. Along the way, my attraction to the sublime and the remote in Australian landscapes took me into the desert and to an encounter with indigenous communities. This led to working in the Centre, then initiating student projects in the Pitjantjatjarra and Ngaanyatjarra Lands of the Northern Territory and Western Australia, culminating in the BHP Steel awarded Patjarr Visitor centre – a collaboration with the University of SA. Growing concern for indigenous concepts and practices of place, and in the ethical rather than aesthetic dimension of architecture and placemaking, led to a collaboration with HealthHabitat and the establishment of the first indigenous preparatory programme in architecture at the UNSW.

Between 2006 and 2010 I was Professor of Architectural Design at Newcastle University, where I helped to develop and sharpen the year long final Graduation Studio, and came to appreciate the critical questions and sacrifices around regenerating abandoned industrial fabric in the contemporary city. I have practiced architecture in Sydney, Alice Springs and Adelaide, designing and building several houses and civic/community projects. I was design architect for the Garie Surf Lifesaving Centre, Royal National Park, completed in 2007 after a 10 years process that began as a student project.

Professional Experience

  • 2010 | Professor of Architecture, University of Sydney
  • 2006 | Professor of Architectural Design, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University (UK).
  • 2004 | Invited Professor, Centre de Recherches sur le Japon (Centre for Research on Japan), Écoles des Haûtes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris
  • 1995 | Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture, University of New South Wales.
  • 1988 | Lecturer/Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture, University of South Australia.
  • 1977 | Tutor, School of Architecture, University of New South Wales.

Research interests

  • Architecture and Cinema
  • Architecture and music
  • Spatial and temporal symbolism

Teaching and supervision

BDES3010 | Architecture Studio 301

MARC5001 | Graduation Studio

MARF5201 | Honours Studio

Associations

  • Visiting Professor | Carleton School of Architecture and Urbanism, Ottawa, Canada (2012)
  • Member | Indigenous Strategies and Services Committee, University of Sydney
  • Coordinator | Architectural Graduation Studio, University of Sydney.
  • Elected Fellow | Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA)
  • Visiting Thinker | Centre for Ideas, Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne. (2005).

Selected publications & creative works

Download citations: PDF RTF Endnote

Books

  • Tawa, M. (2011). Theorising the Project: A Thematic Approach to Architectural Design. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Tawa, M. (2010). Agencies of the Frame: Tectonic Strategies in Cinema and Architecture. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Tawa, M., Laurence, J. (1998). 49 veils : windows in the new Central Synagogue. Darlinghurst, Sydney: Waste Publishing.
  • Tawa, M., Opie, N., Pholeros, P. (1996). Ecotourism : a South Australian design guide for sustainable development. Adelaide, Australia: South Australian Tourism Commission.

Book Chapters

  • Tawa, M. (2013). Unseemly Projections: Cinema/Architecture. In Claudia Perren, Sarah Breen Lovett (Eds.), Reverse Projections: Expanded Architecture At The Rocks, (pp. 44-51). Berlin, Germany: Broken Dimanche Press.
  • Tawa, M. (2012). Limits of Fluxion. In Andrew Ballantyne and Christopher Smith (Eds.), Architecture in the Space of Flows, (pp. 217-234). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis.
  • Tawa, M. (2007). Garie Beach Surf Safety Centre, NSW Australia. In Dou Pingping (Eds.), World Sustainable Construction, (pp. 178-185). Beijing, China: China Architecture and Building Press.
  • Tawa, M. (2006). Framing the Parasite. In Richard Goodwin (Eds.), Performance to Porosity, (pp. 116-155). Fishermans Bend, Australia: Thames & Hudson Ltd.
  • Tawa, M. (2001). Powers of ten. Ten 10 : anniversary objects : an Art Museum and Louis Laybourne Smith of Architecture and Design exhibition celebrating the University of South Australia's tenth anniversary. Adelaide, Australia: University of South Australian Art Museum.
  • Tawa, M. (2001). Reconciliation in Action. In Scott K Phillips (Eds.), Everyday diversity : Australian multiculturalism and reconciliation in practice. Altona Victoria Australia: Common Ground Publishing.
  • Tawa, M. (2000). Making for. Warm filters : paintings for buildings : artists John Barbour, Annette Bezor, Melinda Harper, Jacky Redgate, Johannes S. Sistermanns. Parkside, South Australia: Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (CACSA).
  • Tawa, M. (1992). Poesis and Praxis: Craft Modernity and the Techne of Architecture. In Noris Ioannou (Eds.), Craft in society : an anthology of perspectives. South Fremantle, WA: Fremantle Arts Centre Press.

Journals

  • Tawa, M. (2012). Being (in the Midst of) Two: Interstice and deconstitution in cinema and architecture. Interstices: Journal of Architecture & Related Arts, 13, 32-43.
  • Tawa, M. (2011). ENTR'ACTE: INTERVAL: A Review of Adrian Snodgrass' "Thinking Through the Gap" and Linda Marie Walker's "And so on, and". Architectural Theory Review, 16(2), 124-135. [More Information]
  • Tawa, M. (2008). Agencies of the Frame: Mobilising Assemblage in Cinema and Architecture. The Architect (Jianzhushi), (136), 54-61.
  • Tawa, M. (2002). Place, country, chorography: towards a kinaesthetic and narrative practice of place. Architectural Theory Review, 7(2), 45-58.
  • Tawa, M. (2001). At Kbal Spean. Architectural Theory Review, 6(1), 134-155.
  • Tawa, M. (1998). Mapping: design. Architectural Theory Review, 3(1), 35-45.
  • Tawa, M. (1991). Ideology and sources of nationalism in contemporary Australian architecture: objections to the marketing of an architectural fiction. Australian Studies in Architectural History, , 75-83.

Conferences

  • Tawa, M. (2012). Darker, Slower Eloquence. Fabulation: Myth, Nature, Heritage, SAHANZ XXIX 2012, 29th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia & New Zealand, Launceston, Australia: Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Tawa, M. (2004). Limit and Leimma: What Remains for Architecture? LIMITS: XXIst Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ), Melbourne: Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Tawa, M. (2000). (Un)making place. Défaire le lieu. Proceedings of the 16th IAPS Conference, Paris, France: International Association of People-Environment Studies (IAPS).
  • Tawa, M. (2000). What is theory for? Architecture + Education 2000, Sydney, Australia: Faculty of Architecture Design and Planning, The University of Sydney.
  • Tawa, M. (1999). Imagining a place: mapping Alexandria. Self, Place & Imagination. Cross Cultural Thinking in Architecture, Adelaide, Australia: Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture, The University of Adelaide.
  • Tawa, M. (1999). Place, visuality and kinesthetics: Indigenous experience of country at Uluru-Kata Tjuta, Central Australia. The Practice and Pedagogy of Preservation, Berkeley California: IASTE.
  • Tawa, M. (1997). Delinquent practices: drifting writing architecture. Building Dwelling Drifting: Migrancy and the Limits of Architecture, Melbourne, Australia: University of Melbourne.
  • Tawa, M. (1997). Grounding the question. Implications of Indigenous narrative practice for architectural history. 14th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians,, Adelaide, Australia: Sahanz.

Visual Art

  • Tawa, M. (2013). (In)Scape: film. In: Reverse Projections: Expanded Architecture at the Rocks. Sydney Architecture Festival. 136-138 Cumberland Street The Rocks, Sydney, Australia.
  • Astore, M., Tawa, M. (2012). Hunter. In: Alchemy. Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
  • Tawa, M., Youssofzay, B. (2012). Interstice. In: Interstice. Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney, Australia.
  • Weileder, W., Tawa, M. (2008). Cashpoint. In: Back to the City. Police Museum. Hunter Street Facade, Police Museum, Newcastle, Australia.

Textual Creative Works

  • Tawa, M. (2013). 9732. Wake up, time to die. Do Electric Crows Fly Over Adelaide, (pp. 4 - 5). Adelaide, Australia: SASA Gallery, University of South Australia.
  • Tawa, M. (2013). Ambiguum analogum. Analogue, (pp. 15 - 22). Melbourne, Australia: Freerange Press.
  • Tawa, M., Walker, L. (2013). Editorial: On the Margin. Architectural Theory Review, Volume 18, Issue 2, (pp. 129 - 134). Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis.
  • Tawa, M. (2012). Culture. Panorama, (pp. 12 - 13). Sydney, Australia: Faculty of Architecture Design and Planning, The University of Sydney.
  • Tawa, M. (2012). Editorial Emergence and Architecture. Architectural Theory Review, Volume 17 Issue 1, 2012, (pp. 1 - 2). Sydney, Australia: Routledge (Taylor and Francis).
  • Tawa, M. (2012). Educating the Architect. Architecture Bulletin, nov-dec 2012, (pp. 8 - 9). Sydney, Australia: Australian Institute of Architects.
  • Tawa, M., Nancy, J. (2012). Exchange on emergence. Architectural Theory Review, 17:1, (pp. 52 - 59). Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis.
  • Tawa, M. (2012). Hunters: Outbound. Alchemy, (pp. 9 - 12). Sydney, Australia: Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney.
  • Stead, N., Stickells, L., Tawa, M. (2011). Editorial: Untimely Prospects. Architectural Theory Review, Vol 16 No. 2, (pp. 77 - 83). London, United Kingdom: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis.
  • Tawa, M. (2011). Reverie. aMaze 2011, (pp. 10 - 13). Sydney, Australia: Faculty of Architecture Design and Planning, The University of Sydney.
  • Tawa, M. (2008). Cashpoint: Mistaken. Back to the City | Strategies for Unformal Urban Interventions, (pp. 200 - 203). Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag.
  • Tawa, M. (2008). Reading into, Drawing (out) from. Through the Canvas, (pp. 112 - 115). Barcelona, Spain: Actar-D.
  • Tawa, M. (2005). verdant green. Janet Laurence: A Survery Exhibition, (pp. 23 - 30). Canbera, Australia: Australian National University (ANU).
  • Tawa, M. (2004). Furnishing Place: What is Architecture fit for? Content(s), (pp. 10 - 16). Canberra, Australia: Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre.

Design or Architectural Works

  • Tawa, M. (2007). Garie Beach Surf Safety Centre, NSW Australia. Garie Beach, Royal National Park, New South Wales, Australia: Dept of Environment & Climate Change (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Services) & Garie Beach SLSC. Public/ Recreational.
  • Tawa, M., Morris, D., Opie, N., Scholz, O., Young, N. (2004). Patjarr Aboriginal Community Visitors Centre. The Patjarr Aboriginal Community Visitor's Centre, Gibson Desert, WA, Australia: Western Australian Lotteries Commission. public.

Web based exhibition

  • Tawa, M. (2010). Design Lexicon. Australia: design lexicon.

2013

  • Tawa, M. (2013). (In)Scape: film. In: Reverse Projections: Expanded Architecture at the Rocks. Sydney Architecture Festival. 136-138 Cumberland Street The Rocks, Sydney, Australia.
  • Tawa, M. (2013). 9732. Wake up, time to die. Do Electric Crows Fly Over Adelaide, (pp. 4 - 5). Adelaide, Australia: SASA Gallery, University of South Australia.
  • Tawa, M. (2013). Ambiguum analogum. Analogue, (pp. 15 - 22). Melbourne, Australia: Freerange Press.
  • Tawa, M., Walker, L. (2013). Editorial: On the Margin. Architectural Theory Review, Volume 18, Issue 2, (pp. 129 - 134). Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis.
  • Tawa, M. (2013). Unseemly Projections: Cinema/Architecture. In Claudia Perren, Sarah Breen Lovett (Eds.), Reverse Projections: Expanded Architecture At The Rocks, (pp. 44-51). Berlin, Germany: Broken Dimanche Press.

2012

  • Tawa, M. (2012). Being (in the Midst of) Two: Interstice and deconstitution in cinema and architecture. Interstices: Journal of Architecture & Related Arts, 13, 32-43.
  • Tawa, M. (2012). Culture. Panorama, (pp. 12 - 13). Sydney, Australia: Faculty of Architecture Design and Planning, The University of Sydney.
  • Tawa, M. (2012). Darker, Slower Eloquence. Fabulation: Myth, Nature, Heritage, SAHANZ XXIX 2012, 29th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia & New Zealand, Launceston, Australia: Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Tawa, M. (2012). Editorial Emergence and Architecture. Architectural Theory Review, Volume 17 Issue 1, 2012, (pp. 1 - 2). Sydney, Australia: Routledge (Taylor and Francis).
  • Tawa, M. (2012). Educating the Architect. Architecture Bulletin, nov-dec 2012, (pp. 8 - 9). Sydney, Australia: Australian Institute of Architects.
  • Tawa, M., Nancy, J. (2012). Exchange on emergence. Architectural Theory Review, 17:1, (pp. 52 - 59). Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis.
  • Astore, M., Tawa, M. (2012). Hunter. In: Alchemy. Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
  • Tawa, M. (2012). Hunters: Outbound. Alchemy, (pp. 9 - 12). Sydney, Australia: Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney.
  • Tawa, M., Youssofzay, B. (2012). Interstice. In: Interstice. Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney, Australia.
  • Tawa, M. (2012). Limits of Fluxion. In Andrew Ballantyne and Christopher Smith (Eds.), Architecture in the Space of Flows, (pp. 217-234). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis.

2011

  • Stead, N., Stickells, L., Tawa, M. (2011). Editorial: Untimely Prospects. Architectural Theory Review, Vol 16 No. 2, (pp. 77 - 83). London, United Kingdom: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis.
  • Tawa, M. (2011). ENTR'ACTE: INTERVAL: A Review of Adrian Snodgrass' "Thinking Through the Gap" and Linda Marie Walker's "And so on, and". Architectural Theory Review, 16(2), 124-135. [More Information]
  • Tawa, M. (2011). Reverie. aMaze 2011, (pp. 10 - 13). Sydney, Australia: Faculty of Architecture Design and Planning, The University of Sydney.
  • Tawa, M. (2011). Theorising the Project: A Thematic Approach to Architectural Design. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

2010

  • Tawa, M. (2010). Agencies of the Frame: Tectonic Strategies in Cinema and Architecture. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Tawa, M. (2010). Design Lexicon. Australia: design lexicon.

2008

  • Tawa, M. (2008). Agencies of the Frame: Mobilising Assemblage in Cinema and Architecture. The Architect (Jianzhushi), (136), 54-61.
  • Weileder, W., Tawa, M. (2008). Cashpoint. In: Back to the City. Police Museum. Hunter Street Facade, Police Museum, Newcastle, Australia.
  • Tawa, M. (2008). Cashpoint: Mistaken. Back to the City | Strategies for Unformal Urban Interventions, (pp. 200 - 203). Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag.
  • Tawa, M. (2008). Reading into, Drawing (out) from. Through the Canvas, (pp. 112 - 115). Barcelona, Spain: Actar-D.

2007

  • Tawa, M. (2007). Garie Beach Surf Safety Centre, NSW Australia. In Dou Pingping (Eds.), World Sustainable Construction, (pp. 178-185). Beijing, China: China Architecture and Building Press.
  • Tawa, M. (2007). Garie Beach Surf Safety Centre, NSW Australia. Garie Beach, Royal National Park, New South Wales, Australia: Dept of Environment & Climate Change (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Services) & Garie Beach SLSC. Public/ Recreational.

2006

  • Tawa, M. (2006). Framing the Parasite. In Richard Goodwin (Eds.), Performance to Porosity, (pp. 116-155). Fishermans Bend, Australia: Thames & Hudson Ltd.

2005

  • Tawa, M. (2005). verdant green. Janet Laurence: A Survery Exhibition, (pp. 23 - 30). Canbera, Australia: Australian National University (ANU).

2004

  • Tawa, M. (2004). Furnishing Place: What is Architecture fit for? Content(s), (pp. 10 - 16). Canberra, Australia: Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre.
  • Tawa, M. (2004). Limit and Leimma: What Remains for Architecture? LIMITS: XXIst Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ), Melbourne: Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Tawa, M., Morris, D., Opie, N., Scholz, O., Young, N. (2004). Patjarr Aboriginal Community Visitors Centre. The Patjarr Aboriginal Community Visitor's Centre, Gibson Desert, WA, Australia: Western Australian Lotteries Commission. public.

2002

  • Tawa, M. (2002). Place, country, chorography: towards a kinaesthetic and narrative practice of place. Architectural Theory Review, 7(2), 45-58.

2001

  • Tawa, M. (2001). At Kbal Spean. Architectural Theory Review, 6(1), 134-155.
  • Tawa, M. (2001). Powers of ten. Ten 10 : anniversary objects : an Art Museum and Louis Laybourne Smith of Architecture and Design exhibition celebrating the University of South Australia's tenth anniversary. Adelaide, Australia: University of South Australian Art Museum.
  • Tawa, M. (2001). Reconciliation in Action. In Scott K Phillips (Eds.), Everyday diversity : Australian multiculturalism and reconciliation in practice. Altona Victoria Australia: Common Ground Publishing.

2000

  • Tawa, M. (2000). (Un)making place. Défaire le lieu. Proceedings of the 16th IAPS Conference, Paris, France: International Association of People-Environment Studies (IAPS).
  • Tawa, M. (2000). Making for. Warm filters : paintings for buildings : artists John Barbour, Annette Bezor, Melinda Harper, Jacky Redgate, Johannes S. Sistermanns. Parkside, South Australia: Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (CACSA).
  • Tawa, M. (2000). What is theory for? Architecture + Education 2000, Sydney, Australia: Faculty of Architecture Design and Planning, The University of Sydney.

1999

  • Tawa, M. (1999). Imagining a place: mapping Alexandria. Self, Place & Imagination. Cross Cultural Thinking in Architecture, Adelaide, Australia: Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture, The University of Adelaide.
  • Tawa, M. (1999). Place, visuality and kinesthetics: Indigenous experience of country at Uluru-Kata Tjuta, Central Australia. The Practice and Pedagogy of Preservation, Berkeley California: IASTE.

1998

  • Tawa, M., Laurence, J. (1998). 49 veils : windows in the new Central Synagogue. Darlinghurst, Sydney: Waste Publishing.
  • Tawa, M. (1998). Mapping: design. Architectural Theory Review, 3(1), 35-45.

1997

  • Tawa, M. (1997). Delinquent practices: drifting writing architecture. Building Dwelling Drifting: Migrancy and the Limits of Architecture, Melbourne, Australia: University of Melbourne.
  • Tawa, M. (1997). Grounding the question. Implications of Indigenous narrative practice for architectural history. 14th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians,, Adelaide, Australia: Sahanz.

1996

  • Tawa, M., Opie, N., Pholeros, P. (1996). Ecotourism : a South Australian design guide for sustainable development. Adelaide, Australia: South Australian Tourism Commission.

1992

  • Tawa, M. (1992). Poesis and Praxis: Craft Modernity and the Techne of Architecture. In Noris Ioannou (Eds.), Craft in society : an anthology of perspectives. South Fremantle, WA: Fremantle Arts Centre Press.

1991

  • Tawa, M. (1991). Ideology and sources of nationalism in contemporary Australian architecture: objections to the marketing of an architectural fiction. Australian Studies in Architectural History, , 75-83.

For support on your academic profile contact .