Architectural Science Review (ASR)

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Professor Henry Cowan

Soon after Professor Henry Cowan took up the Chair of Architectural Science at the University of Sydney in 1954, he arranged a series of public lectures to fill a need expressed by the architectural profession in the city. The technical and scientific aspects of architecture had progressed so rapidly during and after the war years, there was a need for what is now known as 'continuing professional development', although that name came much later.

The series of lectures presented by leading members of the professions and from the universities were well received, and soon it was decided to publish a collection of them, in a format similar to a technical journal. It became apparent that there were many more papers that would be welcomed, and experienced people willing to write them, and the idea of a continuing journal quickly emerged.

The first issue of Architectural Science Review was published in November 1958, with five full-length papers, a bibliography on climate and architecture, book reviews, a list of publications received, and abstracts from the periodical literature. Professor Cowan's book reviews continued to be a valued part of the journal until his passing in 2007, by which time over 4500 reviews had been published, all but a few of them by himself, but a few also by leading experts in the various fields.

Although structural and constructional issues were of great interest at that time, the bibliography and three of the first five papers were actually devoted to environmental issues: thermal comfort, lighting, and tropical architecture, indicating that the professions' interest in environmental issues stretches back much further than the currently popular oil prices and energy shortages.

Throughout its history, ASR has endeavoured to present a balanced collection of papers on the wide range of topics that contribute to its broad field, and to seek those papers, where possible, from as broad a geographical spread as possible. Many former students of Professor Cowan from developing countries have gone on to become academics and researchers, and have had the opportunity to publish in ASR.

Over the years, Architectural Science Reviewbecame a more and more international journal, with individual and institutional (library) subscribers and contributors from around the world, supported by an international editorial advisory board of the leading academics in the field likewise from around the world. ASRbecame recognised, and continues to be recognised, as not only the first but the leading journal in the field.

To commemorate 50 years of publication, a function was held in the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney in 2006. At that time, tribute was paid to Professor Cowan for his foresight and dedication in inaugurating and continuing the publication for half a century.

Professor Cowan passed away in July 2007, having completed the last of his book reviews only a few weeks before. An obituary was included in Issue 50.3 (September 2007).

Professor Gary Moore

Professor Gary Moore was made editor-in-chief in 2006 instigating many beneficial changes to ASR. His insight, experience and professionalism lifted the profile of the journal, while still maintaining Professor Cowan’s vision. Associate Professor Peter Smith was responsible for designing and developing the highly efficient Paper Tracking System that enables manuscripts to be tracked electronically.

In 2008, it was suggested that an independent publisher should publish ASR. After some exploration, Earthscan in the UK agreed to be the new publisher bringing to the journal additional capability to market and distribute in the international arena.

Some innovations Earthscan has already brought to the journal are:

  • New delivery formats
    All current customers are able to choose to receive the journal via Print, Online only or Combined (Print and Online) subscriptions
  • e-ToCs
    Users can sign up for content lists of issues as they are published. Future plans include linking of articles and references via CrossRef, and the digitisation of the entire back file to Volume 1 to allow online access to the whole archive.

Professor Richard Hyde

By the end of 2008, ASR had a new publisher and new editor-in-chief, Professor Richard Hyde, Professor of Architectural Science.

Professor Hyde brings to the journal expertise in sustainable architectural design and has a national and international reputation in the area of environmental design. Since his appointment, he has strived to bring coherence to the journal through examining new and emerging themes within architectural science and how a suite of papers can be brought together to explore these themes. In this way, the original vision of ASR, to publish knowledge and opinion concerning new thinking, can be maintained. Previously papers were published on a sequential basis.

To improve the connection between architectural science organisations such as Australian New Zealand Architectural Science Association (ANZAScA) and ASR, authors have been invited to submit papers for publication from these conferences as ‘snap shots’ of new emerging themes in architectural science.
To this end, some editions of ASR will draw from these conferences compiled by guest editors.

These special editions, guest edited recently by Associate Editor Bruce Forwood, and Professor Sue Roaf, Chair of Architectural Engineering at Heriot-Watt University, UK, are attracting much attention from international researchers.

Architectural Science Review is now in its 53rd volume of uninterrupted publication, and over that period can claim to have been at the forefront of its field. As confirmation of the high standing in which Architectural Science Review is held, in the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) results announced in February 2010 by the Australian Research Council (ARC) ASR achieved an ‘A’ ranking. This is a significant achievement.