Katharine Bartsch

Dr Katharine Bartsch

Senior Lecturer

School of Architecture and Built Environment

Faculty of the Professions

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


My research examines how human mobility shapes the built environment, specifically Islamic architecture. Islam is a global faith and it has never existed in a vacuum. The emergence and diffusion of Islam can be traced along routes of migration, pilgrimage, trade, or travel in pursuit of knowledge. Given this context of mobility and the cultural encounters that it engenders, the goal of my research is to interpret the complexity and diversity of Muslim communities that is materialised in the built environment. Thus, my research is interdisciplinary, reaching beyond conventional discourses of architecture, to obtain rich insights from anthropology, cultural geography, world systems theories, postcolonial theory, and the history of travel. This approach enables a critical understanding of the production and transformation of the predominantly hybrid architecture of Muslim communities. Thus, my research aims to offer a compelling counter-narrative to pervasive misconceptions about architecture and Islam.

Australian Research Council Linkage Grant. The Architecture of Australia's Muslim Pioneers, 2014-2017.

Chief Investigators Dr Peter Scriver and Dr Katharine Bartsch with Research Associate Dr Mizanur Rashid, University of Adelaide

With Partner Investigator Dr Philip Jones, South Australian Museum, and Partner Investigator Dr Abdul Razak Sapian, International Islamic University of Malaysia.

Current Courses 2016

Design Studio I introduces concepts, principles and techniques which form the basis for future design studies and professional practice. Students explore design as a speculative process of inquiry and experimentation. This process begins in the design studio — a hands-on experience — where students produce drawings, models and other artefacts to explore and represent their ideas in weekly studio tasks. These formative, incremental studio tasks enable the development and resolution of the summative design assignments. In this way, the studios support the acquisition and preliminary development of skills to analyse, conceptualise, resolve and present well-reasoned design responses. Beginning with a specific site, Design Studio I focuses on the foundation element of the design disciplines (architecture, landscape architecture and urban design), the ground plane.  As such, this studio encourages students to engage in iterative design processes which integrate considerations of site, precedent, human scale, site engineering and material and physical data. Idea generation is central. Historical and contemporary design precedents are introduced (considered in parallel with History Theory I), and hand drawing and physical modelling (skills developed in parallel with Representation I) form the primary medium for design communication and exploration. The principles of digital representation are introduced as a tool to assist design, design ‘thinking’ and design communication. In addition, skills in oral communication are developed. It is imperative that designers can convey their ideas in a clear and convincing way. As an ongoing practice students are encouraged to develop an appreciation and ability for a high quality of craft and attention to detail, from micro through to macro scale; skills which are fundamental to successful design outcomes.

Environment I The course explores the notion that designers respond to pressing environmental, cultural, social and economic issues in the design and creation of our built environments. The course introduces the historical, political and ethical contexts and processes of environmental design. The relationship between climates, environments and design as both built structures and landscapes is explored at a variety of scales. This course introduces students to the complex context for the development of projects destined to shape our inevitably changing built environments. This course is the foundation for future courses focusing on design and the environment at Level II and Level III in the Bachelor of Design Studies.

History Theory II Building on History Theory I, this course expands and deepens the frameworks of historical and theoretical understanding that necessarily underpin current knowledge and practice in the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design. The course focuses on the long history of Modernity (16th - 20th c.) as a process of globalisation, and its conceptual, formal, spatial and technological consequences for the development of the environmental design disciplines. Throughout the course disciplinary concerns will be considered within their social, cultural, political and environmental contexts. Students enhance their research and academic writing skills and consider other modes of interpreting and understanding historical and theoretical concerns.

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  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 Principal Supervisor Managing Flood Risks: Exploring Dynamics Between Green and Grey Infrastructure Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Alhassan Ibrahim
    2017 Co-Supervisor Relearning the Limits of Growth: An Inter-disciplinary Coherence of Urban Planning and Water Cycles in Dhaka City Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Mehbuba Tune Uzra
    2017 Principal Supervisor Building Modern Sri Lanka: New Town and Mahaweli Architectural Unit Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Nirodha Kumari Meegahakumbura Dissanayake
    2016 Co-Supervisor Urban Bioregionalism in Policy and Practice at Willunga Basin Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mrs Pragathi .
    2007 Principal Supervisor Landscape Architecture; Perceptions of Public Spaces Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Miss Janelle Arbon
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2013 - 2016 Principal Supervisor Evaluating New Towns in the Context of Mega Projects: A Case Study of the Mahaweli Architectural Unit, Sri Lanka (1983-1989) Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mrs Nirodha Kumari Meegahakumbura Dissanayake
    2013 - 2016 Co-Supervisor The Rise of Modern Urbanity (tamaddun) in the Arab World Education, Journalism, and Enlightenment Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mrs Kinda Alsamara
    2013 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Botanic and Poetic Landscapes: A Reading of Two Persian Texts on Early Safavid Gardens Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Zahra Ranjbari
    2012 - 2012 Co-Supervisor Gardens of Damascus: Landscape and the Culture of Recreation in the Early Modern Period Master of Landscape Architecture Master Full Time Miss Georgina Hafteh
    2012 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Multi-step Transition in Housing Provision and Progressive Development of Urban Settlements: Case of Davao City, Philippines Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Isidoro III Malaque
    2010 - 2013 Principal Supervisor The Rationale of Architectural Discourses in Post-Independence Egypt: A Contrapuntal Reading of `Alam Al-Bena'a (1980-2000) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Marwa Moustafa El-Ashmouni
    2008 - 2010 Co-Supervisor Sustainable Water Management in Semi-Arid India: Learning from the Gond and Kohli Indigenous Communities Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Namrata Vishwasrao
    2008 - 2012 Co-Supervisor Architectural Exchange in the Eighteenth Century A Study of Three Gateway Cities: Istanbul, Aleppo and Lucknow Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mrs Elise Kamleh
    2008 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Conservation of Heritage Curtilages in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mrs Nadiyanti Mat Nayan
  • Position: Senior Lecturer
  • Phone: 83132305
  • Email: katharine.bartsch@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8313 4377
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Barr Smith South, floor 4
  • Org Unit: School of Architecture & Built Environment

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