Urs Bette

Dr Urs Bette

Senior Lecturer

School of Architecture and Built Environment

Faculty of the Professions

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD (as Co-Supervisor) - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Urs Bette is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Adelaide and Director of Urs Bette : Design. He holds a Masters degree in Architecture from the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, and a PhD from RMIT University Melbourne. His design works have been shown at the Architectural Biennale Venice, the AEDES Architecture Gallery Berlin and the FRAC Centre Orléans. His research investigates the role of ‘the unreasonable’ in the design process, revealing strategies that facilitate the poetics of architecture within a professional discourse dominated by expectations of quantifiable performance. The context of this research is set by the relationship between existing urban fabrics and a secondary layer of architectural form. The work contributes to the discourse on sustainable models of urban growth, by developing strategies for urban densification that tap into local histories and voices, including those of the seemingly inanimate - the architecture itself and the ground it sits up-on - to inform the site-related production of architectural character and space. Urs leads practice-based research at the School of Architecture and Built Environment.

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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2016 - 2013 Lecturer - Fixed term contract University of Adelaide
    2013 Lecturer - Continuing Position University of Adelaide
    2006 - 2007 Design Architect Sam / Ott Reinisch
    2004 - 2004 Design Architect next ENTERprise Architects
    2004 - 2004 Design Architect K.Stattman, Office for Architecture & Research
    2004 Director Urs Bette : Design
    2001 - 2003 Design Architect Eichinger oder Knechtl
    2000 - 2001 Design Architect Designbureau Chavanne
    2000 - 2000 Design Architect next ENTERprise Architects
    1997 - 1998 Design Architect Atelier Lange Monteagudo
    1992 - 1994 Designer Coop Himmelb(l)au
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2016 Teaching Award Executive Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching Faculty of Professions - The University of Adelaide Australia
    2016 Achievement OLT innovation and development grant Office for Learning and Teaching Australia $497.000 - jointly awarded to 14 Universities
    2015 Research Award Aiming for the Stars University of Adelaide - Faculty of Professions Austria $4.000
    2015 Research Award Cluster Evolution Support University of Adelaide - Faculty of Professions Australia $7,500
    2013 Scholarship RMIT University HDR Scholarship RMIT University Australia $16.800
    2010 Award Artist in Residence Studio, 1. Prize, Architectural Design Competition Australian Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide Australia
    2009 Award Thalia NEU, 1. Prize, Architectural Design Competition Austria
    2000 Recognition Experimental Tendencies in Architecture Austrian Federal Chancellery Australia
    2000 Scholarship Tische-Scholarship The Austrian Federal Chancelor Austria
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    English Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
    German Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2011 - 2015 RMIT University Australia PhD
    1993 - 2000 University of Applied Arts Austria MArch
    1987 - 1992 University of Applied Sciences Germany DDes
  • Certifications

    Date Title Institution name Country
    2003 Architect Chamber of Architects Germany
  • Research Interests

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  • Book Chapters

    Year Citation
    2012 Bette, U. I. (2012). Artist in Residence Studio. In T. Court, F. Bonnato, & J. Cys (Eds.), Design South Australia (pp. 145-147). Adelaide: Integrated Design Commission.
    2012 Bette, U. I. (2012). Urs Bette Architecture. In A. Sánchez Vidiella (Ed.), Contemporary Architects 1 (pp. 590-599). Barcelona: LOFT Publications.
    2010 Bette, U. I. (2010). Expo 2010 - Uralla Court. In J. Fajardo (Ed.), Starchitects Visionary Architects of the Twenty-first Century (pp. 526-530). Harper Collins.
  • Original Creative Works

    Year Citation
    2018 Publication status: Published
    NTRO sub category: 1 Visual art work
    Title: River Torrens Footbridge - blueprint
    Alternative title: riverbankbridge
    Authors: Bette U
    Publisher: Tony Kearney: RUST SALT TAR / Adelaide Fringe
    Publisher URL: https://adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/bridge-af2018
    Place of publication: Adelaide
    Publication date: 23 February 2018
    Series: RUST SALT TAR
    Extent: Dimensions in centimeters: 61 x 191
    Rights statement: copy right lies with the author
    Source URL: http://www.rustsalttar.com/bridge.html
    Keywords: landscape architecture, performative relationships
    Other output evidence: http://www.rustsalttar.com/bridge-gallery.html
    Author URL: http://bette.at/project/riverbankbridge/
    Medium: Dye ink print
    Verification-status: Verified
    ERA Research Statement - 2000 character limit: This project investigates the relationship between architectural objects and the ground / site they reside in. Working in the atypical context of a landscape project has revealed that the relationship between object and ground revolves around a strategic gap that lays the foun-dation for a project's conceptual idea. The detachment of the object acts as an operational strategy that triggers a dialogue between object and ground, from which a performative surplus, manifest through form and space, arises.
    Record created at source: 25 March 2018
    2018 Publication status: Published
    NTRO sub category: 1 Visual art work
    Title: Unreasonable Creatures - strategic mappings
    Authors: Bette UI
    ISBN-13: 978-0-646-99249-5
    Publisher: The University of Sydney
    Place of publication: Sydney
    Publication date: 27 September 2018
    Pagination: 35
    Extent: 3 x 1.5 m
    ERA Research Statement - 2000 character limit: Unreasonable Creatures sets out to validate the role of the unreasonable in the design process. Using case study projects the author gives an insight into the epistemological processes of his creative practice, and unveils the strategies he deploys in order to facilitate the poetic aspects of architecture within a discourse whose evaluation parameters predominantly involve reason. Themes discussed include the emergence of space from the staged opposition between the architectural object and the site, and the relationship between emotive cognition and analytic synthesis in the design act. In both of these there is a necessary engagement with forms of ‘unreasonable’ thought, action or behaviours. The work offers encouragement to accept the usefulness and validity of the unreasonable in architecture. By investigating the performative relationship between object and ground, the work contributes to the discourse on extensions, growth and urban densification that tap into local histories and voices, including those of the seemingly inanimate - the architecture itself and the ground it sits upon - to inform the site-related production of architectural character and space. In doing so, the work raises debates about the values pursued in design approval processes, and the ways in which site-relatedness is both produced and judged.
    Record created at source: 5 December 2018
    2017 Publication status: Published
    NTRO sub category: 1 Visual art work
    Title: Thalia facade
    Authors: Bette U
    Publisher: Tony Kearney: RUST SALT TAR / Adelaide Fringe
    Place of publication: Adelaide
    Publication date: 3 March 2017
    Extent: Dimensions: 100 x 70
    Rights statement: copyright lies with the author
    Source URL: http://www.rustsalttar.com/grain-gallery.html
    Keywords: architecture, facade, adaptive reuse
    Other output evidence: http://bette.at/project/thalia/
    Author URL: http://www.bette.at/
    Medium: Medium: dye ink print
    Verification-status: Verified
    ERA Research Statement - 2000 character limit: The work exhibited gives evidence of my investigations into methods for camouflaging the extends of buildings in an urban context. It is part of a larger project that explores the architects ongoing interest in how propositions come to both affect and also respond to an existing condition or ‘ground’. While no project is located on a tabula rasa, urban consolidation policies are increasingly challenging architects to work on sites that are articulated by multiple custodians and stakeholders. The work explores not just how these interests are accommodated, but asks about the architect’s responsibility to find even more histories and potential voices, including those of the seemingly inanimate – the architecture itself and the ground it sits upon – to actualise unrecognised potentials and desires.
    Record created at source: 25 March 2018
    2016 Publication status: Published
    NTRO sub category: 2 Design/Architectural work
    Title: Tindaya Whale
    Authors: Bette U
    Publisher: Adelaide Fringe Festival - GRIT
    Publisher URL: https://adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/4c99decb-5224-41fd-bef4-81bf2dcd7c58
    Place of publication: Adelaide
    Publication date: 19 February 2016
    Extent: Dimensions 300x150x200cm
    Description: Tindaya whale is the most recent step in an ongoing series of installations. Their aim to explore and test the topics of my architectural design in a medium that is free from program or functional constraints, revealing aspirations and contradictions that are present in my work.
    Source URL: http://www.rustsalttar.com/grit-gallery.html
    Author URL: http://bette.at/
    Verification-status: Verified
    Record created at source: 29 February 2016
    2016 Publication status: Published
    NTRO sub category: 2 Design/Architectural work
    Title: the dragon in the sea
    Authors: Bette U
    Editors: Bollinger K, Janowski-Fritsch R, Jonkhans A, Mueller B
    ISBN-13: 9783990434406
    ISBN-10: 3990434403
    Publisher: Studio Prix
    Place of publication: Birkhäuser Verlag GmbH, Basel
    Publication date: 2016
    Pagination: 270-271
    Extent: 150m2
    Abstract: The eroding island Okinotori-shima is situated in Japan’s southernmost territory, in the South Pacific Ocean. At high-tide two rocks, three and five meters wide, are all that remains of the island. Without these rocks the Japanese territory would end with Iwo-Jima and the country would loose 400 000 km2 of its territorial waters and, thus, the rights to fish and minerals located there. Each typhoon dimishes the rocks’ protruding surface area, which is why the Japanese government is willing to spend 250 million Dollars to protect the island. It’s crucial that no part of the supporting structure touches the island, as that would render it an artificial island with no rights to an exclusive economic zone.

    The dragon in the sea is the choreography of an annual ritual. Orientated on its volcanic origin, rock material from its interior is smelted onto its peak to replace the loss from erosion. This will save the island from legal issues of territoriality for approximately 600 years. A scientist, a machinist and a registrar travel to Okinotori-shima by ship. They survey the island, calculate last year’s erosion loss, excavate rock material, smelter and deposit it on the peak of the island. The symbolic act that follows constitutes the “inhabitation” of the island. They fish, trade the catch among themselves, cook and have dinner together. Everything needed is stored inside the rock. Power and air are provided by their ship anchored besides the atoll. The island is entered through an airlock 3m below sea level. Above sea level nothing indicates the existence of the machinery and equipment.
    Other output evidence: http://bette.at/project/dragon-in-the-sea/
    Verification-status: Verified
    ERA Research Statement - 2000 character limit: .
    Record created at source: 16 May 2016

    2014 Publication status: Published
    NTRO sub category: 2 Design/Architectural work
    Title: Dissecting the whale
    Authors: Bette U
    Publisher: RMIT University - School of Architecture & Design - Design Hub
    Publisher URL: http://designhub.rmit.edu.au/exhibitions-programs/practice-research-symposium
    Place of publication: RMIT Design Hub
    Publication date: 2014
    Extent: 30 meter sq.
    Description: Working on installations has substantiated my design process and revealed how its expression has changed over the past years. My architectural figures have become more and more monolithic and hermetically closed. Closing the object has confined space to the void underneath the object, denying it the possibility to bridge the gap and branch out into the architectural character and along the ground. This quality was last noticeable at Uralla Court I & II. While the characters have developed and gained ‘radiant space’ through their increased presence, they have lost the ‘sequential space’ that develops along a timeline of events. In my forthcoming work I intend to re-initiate ‘spatial flow’ by dissecting the object. The installation at Spinoza’s Cabinet had been a first attempt in this direction. There, space began to flow between segments of the character and the void beneath. The ground contributed to the development of the object and thus was silently activated. My aim is to achieve a balance between breaking up the body to further the flow of space and protecting the identity of the character. The installation at RMIT will be the next instance in which I can test and develop this strategy, hoping that it might function as a synthesis of my past practice and give an outlook into future research.
    Other output evidence: https://www.flickr.com/photos/35009461@N04/sets/72157648644745630/
    Author URL: http://bette.at/current/dissection/
    Medium: Cardboard
    Verification-status: Verified
    ERA Research Statement - 2000 character limit: .
    Record created at source: 1 February 2016
    2014 Publication status: Published
    NTRO sub category: 2 Design/Architectural work
    Title: HTMTI Training Hotel
    Authors: Bette U, OttReinisch I
    Publisher URL: http://www.ottreinisch.at/
    Place of publication: Thimpuh, Bhutan
    Publication date: 2014
    Extent: 1300 m2
    Keywords: Sustainable & Culturally Sensitive Architecture
    Other output evidence: http://www.ottreinisch.at/
    Verification-status: Verified
    Record created at source: 1 February 2016
    2014 Publication status: Published
    NTRO sub category: 2 Design/Architectural work
    Title: HTMTI Training Hotel
    Authors: Bette U, OttReinisch I
    Publisher URL: http://www.ottreinisch.at/
    Place of publication: Thimpuh, Bhutan
    Publication date: 2014
    Extent: 1300 m2
    Keywords: Sustainable & Culturally Sensitive Architecture
    Other output evidence: http://www.ottreinisch.at/
    Verification-status: Verified
    Record created at source: 1 February 2016
    2013 Publication status: Published
    NTRO sub category: 2 Design/Architectural work
    Title: Thalia NEU
    Authors: Bette UI, Ott-Reinisch I, Sam F
    Publisher: Acoton. Thalia Errichtungs and Vermietungs-GmbH
    Place of publication: Graz, Austria
    Publication date: 2013
    Extent: Addition/rooftop extension and integration of existing buildings
    Description: “Thalia New” is the result of an architectural design competition for a fitness studio plus offices, with the aim to restructure the existing building complex opposite the State Opera house, which, after only partial implementation of previous projects, had been left in an inhomogeneous state. The design is based on the premise that all existing roofs and facades, with the exception of those that are heritage listed, will be regarded as the site. Hence building mass is distributed equally along and above four existing buildings, and nestles into all available niches. This allowed the perceived cubic volume to be kept low, and relevant lines of sight maintained.
    Other output evidence:
    http://bette.at/project/thalia/
    Verification-status: Verified
    ERA Research Statement - 2000 character limit: "Research Background: ‘Thalia NEU’ was a winning competition entry to design a fitness centre and offices above a building complex opposite the State Opera House in Graz. Research Contribution: The project for a rooftop extension to a building in the centre of Gratz explored an ongoing interest of the architect, documented in his recently completed PhD, in how propositions come to both affect but also respond to an existing condition or ‘ground’. While no project is located on a tabula rasa, urban consolidation policies are increasingly challenging architects to work in sites of rich histories which are articulated by multiple custodians and stakeholders. This work explores not just how these identified interests are accommodated buts asks about the architect’s responsibility to find even more histories and potential voices, including those of the seemingly inanimate – the architecture itself – which can actualise unrecognised or unspoken potentials and desires. Research Significance: The project deals with a full range of functional and practical issues, structural and planning, which are typical to adaptive reuse and urban heritage sites. However it is formal exploration beyond these considerations which researches the further significance and responsibilities of contemporary architecture and its role in complex development of future cities, recognising the need to discover new sensibilities and techniques to appreciate the unique conditions of each situation and realise unique interventions.
    Record created at source: 20 November 2014
    2012 Publication status: Published
    NTRO sub category: 2 Design/Architectural work
    Title: River Torrens Footbridge
    Authors: bette
    Publisher: State Government of South Australia
    Place of publication: Adelaide
    Publication date: 2012
    Extent: 3500m2
    Notes: http://bette.at/project/riverbankbridge/
    http://www.archive.indaily.com.au/default.aspx?iid=74592&startpage=page0000001#folio=1
    - http://www.sensational-adelaide.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=4035&start=300
    - http://www.theplan.net.au/interview-with-designer-and-theorist-sam-spurr/
    Verification-status: Verified
    Record created at source: 20 November 2014
    2012 Publication status: Published
    NTRO sub category: 2 Design/Architectural work
    Title: To the Islands
    Authors: Bette UI
    Publisher: South Australian School of Art (SASA) Gallery
    Place of publication: Adelaide
    Publication date: 2012
    Pagination: 70
    Journal: LIBRARY JOURNAL
    ISSN: 0363-0277
    Volume: 135
    Issue: 8
    Extent: Unknown
    Language: English
    Author URL: http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/
    Notes: Published in Design South Australia
    Integrated Design Commission, Wakefield Press
    South Australia 2012

    [attachments include design drawings and other material. Following links for our/internal ref.]
    http://bette.at/project/to-the-islands/
    curated exhibition, SASA Gallery, Adelaide
    http://w3.unisa.edu.au/artarchitecturedesign/sasagallery/docs/invite%2011/Islands%20web.pdf
    Verification-status: Verified
    Record created at source: 20 November 2014

    2009 Publication status: Published
    NTRO sub category: 2 Design/Architectural work
    Title: Australian Experimental Art Foundation (AEAF) Artist in Residence Studio
    Authors: Bette UI
    Publisher: Australian Experimental Art Foundation
    Place of publication: Adelaide
    Publication date: 2009
    Extent: 50m2
    Notes: Research Significance:
    (evidence of excellence/peer recognition/public and peer published or otherwise documented interest and debate, other prestige factors)

    Published in Design South Australia
    Integrated Design Commission, Wakefield Press
    South Australia 2012

    [attachments include design drawings and other material. Following links for our/internal ref.]
    http://bette.at/project/aeaf/
    Verification-status: Verified
    Record created at source: 20 November 2014

    2007 Publication status: Published
    NTRO sub category: 2 Design/Architectural work
    Title: Uralla Court ll
    Authors: Bette UI
    Place of publication: Adelaide
    Publication date: 2007
    Extent: 130m²
    Description: Residential building in Adelaide, Australia. UC-2 is the redesign of the project 'Uralla Court' with changed parameters; the reduction of the usable space by 2/3. The spatial concept remains the same, previously enclosed spaces at the lower level are now used as sheltered outdoor spaces.
    Source URL: http://bette.at/project/uc-2/
    Other output evidence: http://www.labiennale.at/2006/Rock/rock_02.html
    Record created at source: 1 February 2016
    2005 Publication status: Published
    NTRO sub category: 2 Design/Architectural work
    Title: Uralla Court
    Authors: Bette UI
    Publisher URL: http://bette.at/project/uralla-court/
    Place of publication: Adelaide
    Publication date: 2005
    Extent: 330m2
    Description: The project was developed from the individual ´users´ own needs which can be found in the atmospheric and spatial qualities of the structure. The central question was ´How would you like to live?´ and not ´How should your house look?´ The essential element of the project was the ´reading´ of the clients as individuals and ´feeling into´ the way they see their lives.

    The result is an internally defined ´spatial sculpture´ with a range of different possibilities within its interior. It sets out a way of living and working together in which the opportunity to choose and personal freedom play an important role. The occupants can decide between different atmospheres, paths and spatial situations which determine the degree of interaction with the other or the intensity of thought over work. There are areas where the space flows and moves and others that are stable, interweaving various purposes and creating different awarenesses. Distance and openness interact with narrow ravine-like gaps, extroverted zones with sheltered niches and closed units. The whole house is a dance around ´open shelter´.

    The existing landscape remains present throughout the whole project, the terrain being ´echoed´ in the different levels which flow through the interior of the house. The two structures form a pair whose deliberate independence, in a topographical and cultural context, is the result of the intense consideration of the brief and the qualities of the location itself. They create an exterior space that gives an unexpectedly urbane quality to the area between them and divides the block into private and open areas.
    Other output evidence: http://www.labiennale.at/2006/start.htm
    Author URL: http://www.labiennale.at/2006/Rock/rock_02.html
    Record created at source: 1 February 2016

  • Curated or Produced Public Exhibition or Events

    Year Citation
    2017 Urs Bette, U. B. (2017). Thalia at GRAIN (No. Of Pieces: Medium: dye ink print, Dimensions: 100 x 70) [Exhibition]. Adelaide: 2017 Adelaide Fringe Festival.
    2015 Final Year Students, A. L. A. U. D. (2015). Divergent (No. Of Pieces: 1 week) [Exhibition]. Adelaide University - Hub Central.
    2014 Final Year Students, A. L. A. U. D. (2014). Masters of Architecture, Landscape Architecture & Urban Design (No. Of Pieces: 1 week) [Exhibition]. Adelaide.
    2013 Final Year Students, A. L. A. U. D. (2013). Masters of Architecture, Landscape Architecture & Urban Design (No. Of Pieces: 1 week) [Exhibition]. Adelaide.
  • Theses

    Year Citation
    2015 Bette, U. I. (2015). Unreasonable Creatures | in dialogue with an activated ground. (PhD Thesis, RMIT University).
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  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2017 Co-Supervisor Architectural Design: Research by Practice Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Anthony Quentin Donald Coupe
    2017 Co-Supervisor Design by Research that Investigates the Capacity of Architecture to Facilitate New Types of Social Situations Through Denaturalisation of 'Normal' Behaviour Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Richard Joseph Le Messurier
    2017 Co-Supervisor Landscape Architecture; Perceptions of Public Spaces Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Miss Janelle Arbon
    2016 Co-Supervisor Adaptive Reuse and The Architectural Profession : An Inquiry by Design Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Meherzad Behzad Shroff
    2015 Co-Supervisor Unexpected Expectations: Material Collision for a Purpose, Ensemble of Imperfections through Adoptive Process Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Mirai Morita
  • Position: Senior Lecturer
  • Phone: 83134590
  • Email: urs.bette@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8313 4377
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Horace Lamb, floor 4
  • Room: 4 71
  • Org Unit: School of Architecture & Built Environment

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