Research Strengths


The Research wing of the Faculty of Architecture, Design & Planning at the University of Sydney is one of the best in the world. We combine cutting edge labs and resources, world-leading researchers and the flexibility and support required for exciting and innovative research.

Our department currently has 99 research students across the Doctor of Philosophy (Architecture) and the Master of Philosophy (Architecture). With the Faculty ranked #1 in New South Wales, #1 in Australia and #17 in the world, and the ongoing success of our Postgraduate Research Support Scheme, the time to extend and deepen your expertise is now.

Click here to read about our affiliated academic staff.
We look forward to welcoming you, whether as a student, colleague or research fellow.

Indoor Environmental Quality Laboratory

The IEQ Lab is a unique facility in which researchers can examine how the key IEQ factors - temperature, humidity, air movement, ventilation rates, air quality, daylight, artificial lighting, sound and acoustics – all interact to determine comfort, productivity and health outcomes for occupants. The facility consists of two purpose-built rooms in which all of these indoor environmental parameters can be precisely controlled or precisely transitioned across a broad range of values, in any combination, while a sample of typical building occupants (subjects) go about their typical daily activities for an exposure time (usually a few hours each experiment), all the while registering their subjective impressions (quality ratings) on a comfort questionnaire.

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Spatial Audio and Acoustics Laboratories

The Spatial Audio & Acoustics Laboratories provide a context for advanced research on problems of acoustics and audio applications, contributing to improving the sound environment in which we live. As well as a general laboratory work area, the acoustics laboratory has an anechoic room, a reverberant room, and in 2015 the laboratory’s capability has been significantly extended through the completion of the high-density hemispherical array of loudspeakers facility. A sound recording studio was established in the late 1990s, and was renovated in 2014-15. The studio has developed an emphasis on spatial audio research, in conjunction with the Faculty’s acoustics facilities.

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Lighting Lab

The lighting research program at the University of Sydney concentrates on forward-looking applications of light, to provide leading ideas on how the characteristics of future technologies can be leveraged to maximize benefit to human users of light. The researchers in the lab question the status quo of lighting design practice to develop innovative, sometimes fundamentally new, ways of using lighting in architectural spaces. Experiments investigate the impacts of these applications on both the experience of human users of architecture and energy consumption.

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Innovation in Applied Design Lab

The Innovation in Applied Design Lab (IAD Lab) is a collaborative cross-disciplinary research Laboratory within the Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Design at the University of Sydney. The IAD Lab’s strategic focus on “applied design” is broadly conceived to include a wide range of R&D projects and problems spanning a range of scales and disciplines involved in the design, study and construction of the built environment. The IAD Lab provides a hub for researchers within the faculty, and creates opportunities for its Industry Partners to build R&D capacity.

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Research degrees may be completed in one of three key areas: Architectural History and Theory, Heritage Conservation and Housing. Research studies in Architectural History and Theory examine theories, models and parameters for the creation of architecture and the physical outcome of these. Heritage Conservation research studies encompass architectural, landscape and cultural heritage. Housing research is supported by the Ian Buchan Fell Housing Research Centre within the Faculty and includes related issues such as economic and community development both within Australia and in South East Asia.

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Design Lab

The aim of the Design Lab is to foster design as a means of knowledge production in its own right. Our view is that design is fundamentally a knowledge-producing activity. Different from the natural sciences, which studies the world as it is, the humanities, which studies the human condition, and the arts, which explores the possibilities of expression, design is a study of the world the way it could be through the creation and interrogation of the "designed" world. Research and creative practice in the Design Lab span a range of disciplines from interaction design and electronic arts to computer science and social science.

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Urban and Regional Planning

Urban and regional planning research has been established in the Faculty since the late 1940s, covering a wide range of subject areas, including international studies with a focus on South-East Asia and the Pacific; metropolitan planning; housing studies; regional policy and many other fields of policy and development. A recently established urban design program provides additional opportunities to conduct research into the design dimensions of urban form. Besides providing individual study areas for research, the Faculty is home to an extensive library collection and the Planning Research Centre, which is an independent university foundation.

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