Our People

Our Expertise

The Centre for Subtropical Design draws its diverse expertise from many disciplines that are involved in the design of urban communities including Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, Urban Planning, Industrial Design, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Interactive Visual Design, Engineering, Construction Management, Property Economics, Social Sciences, Humanities, Environmental Psychology, and Environmental Management.

We have a track record for innovative collaborative research that is uncovering ways to improve the design of our housing, workplaces, public places, neighbourhoods, cities and urban systems

Our Background

The Centre for Subtropical Design was established in 2004 as a partnership between Brisbane City Council and QUT and joined by Queensland Government in 2006. As a university collaborative centre engaged in design research and community outreach, it was the first Centre of this kind in Australia, to actively build knowledge and promote an understanding and appreciation of the interaction between climate, landscape and lifestyle, especially with regard to developing more sustainable alternatives to how our homes, workplaces and urban form and structure, utilise scarce resources, and to take into account adaptation to the effects of the changing climate.

The impact of this centre has delivered policies for sustainable subtropical urbanism at city and state government levels and a renaissance in design exemplars for buildings and public spaces which are expressive of warm climate lifestyle and conditions, through research, community engagement and practical guidance for policy makers, developers, planners, and designers and the community at large.

Associate Professor Rosemary Kennedy

Associate Professor Rosemary Kennedy was appointed Director of the Centre for Subtropical Design in 2005. Her major research interests include architecture and urban design and public policy for sustainable urbanism in warm climates experiencing population growth and climate change impacts. She leads applied design research projects using collaborative and participatory methods and utilising a broad spectrum of expertise. Her publication Subtropical Design in South East Queensland, a Handbook for Planners, Developers and Decision Makers has influenced planning and architecture throughout Australia and beyond. As a Chief Investigator on an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grant she co-authored the Guide to Liveability in High-Density Environments. Rosemary is founding Chair of the international conference series, Subtropical Cities which is concerned with the interaction amongst human settlement, habitation, ecology and culture; attracting leading researchers, industry professionals and government representatives globally.

Professor Laurie Buys

Professor Laurie Buys is a Social Scientist with a successful track record of inter-disciplinary collaborative research. Her work in social research has been recognised through extensive national and international publications and conference presentations. The majority of her social research involves qualitative and quantitative projects that examine issues including: community engagement, sustainable resource use, sustainability and social impact, community liveability, sustainable buildings and active ageing.

Through social sustainability research, Professor Buys aims to enhance the understanding accountability for, the real effects felt by people in the community resulting from changes in their physical, economic and cultural life. She has strong collaborative partnerships with various organisations to investigate the dynamics of sustainable communities, centered around the idea that prevention rather than mitigation of impacts can be achieved through a multi-disciplinary evaluation of a community and the development of appropriate strategies.

Dr Gillian Lawson

Dr Gillian Lawson is a registered Landscape Architect, Horticulturist and Agriculturalist currently working with higher degree research (HDR) students from Australia, China, India, Vietnam and the Middle East. Her research interests include subtropical and tropical green space improvements in Australian and Asian cities, water sensitive landscape design in coastal, river and lake front developments, cross-cultural social interactions in urban spaces, sustainable design and planning in rural/urban areas. Dr Lawson’s research is aimed at senior managers, department heads and directors in local government who are interested in contributing to the sustainable development of their local environments. In particular, Gillian is focusing on:

  • green space strategies for city master plans
  • biodiversity and water quality improvement in parkland design and

ecological plant selection and use.

Associate Professor Marcus Foth

Associate Professor Marcus Foth is founder and director of the Urban Informatics Research Lab, and Principal Research Fellow in the School of Design, Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology.

Marcus’s research focuses on the relationships between people, place and technology. He leads a cross-disciplinary team that develops practical approaches to complex urban problems. He adopts human-computer interaction and design methodologies to build engagement around emerging issues facing our cities. Marcus’s recent work has examined:

  • Urban planning – new approaches to community participation and engagement
  • Environmental sustainability – new strategies for energy monitoring in domestic settings
  • Food futures – new ideas to re-think eating, cooking and growing food in the city
  • Collaboration and co-working spaces – new aspirations for libraries in the 21st century.

Dean Brough, Senior Fashion Lecturer

Dean Brough, Senior Fashion Lecturer within the School of Design, at QUT and specialises in studio fashion practice and innovation. His research is centred on the critical role of fashion and performance apparel to improve the quality of human health and well being in a subtropical climate; in particular, design resolution for enhanced sun protection.

Dean has also investigated threshold positions for design innovation – the creative practice that evolved from this investigation was awarded a Design Institute of Australia Award. Dean is an astute creative practitioner with a diverse suite of design and fabrication skills. He has a wealth of fashion industry experience and his fashion practice has been exhibited at numerous prestigious venues including Queensland Art Gallery, ARC Biennial, Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival and galleries in Hong Kong.

Associate Professor Evonne Miller

Associate Professor Evonne Miller is an Environmental Psychologist currently working in research areas that focuses on the interrelationships between people and their built, technical and natural environments.

Dr Miller utilises traditional and innovative qualitative and quantitative methodologies to explore issues such as predictors of sustainability, risk perceptions of climate change and new technologies, sustainable natural resource management, the experience and impact of urban consolidation policies and planning for an ageing population including active ageing, family relationships, housing choices, disability and physical activity.

Dr Mirko Guaralda

Dr Mirko Guaralda is Lecturer in Architecture at the Queensland University of Technology with experience in architectural design, landscape architecture and urban design. Before joining academia, Mirko worked with industry and local government in a wide range of projects at different scales from small dwellings to urban strategic planning.

Since 2001, Mirko has been involved in research projects in Australia and Italy. He is currently associated with the Centre for Subtropical Design, Children and Youth Research Centre and the Urban Informatics Research Lab at QUT; he is also an editorial board member for Architecture Research.
Mirko’s research focuses on three main areas:

  • Urban morphology and sense of place
  • Urban hacking and unstructured use of public spaces
  • Inclusive and accessible urban design.

Dr Veronica Garcia-Hansen

Dr Veronica Garcia-Hansen is an Architect who works in collaboration with Physicists, Engineers and Psychologists, having specialist expertise in the design of day lighting devices for tropical and subtropical climates.

Her research interests are in lighting effects on health and wellbeing, integration of devices into built form outcomes including façade design, perception of colour environments, energy efficiency, lighting modelling and simulation.

Dr Ian Weir

Dr Ian Weir is an Architect with a leading track record at a national level in the design of bushfire responsive architecture.

Outcomes of his research in this area include award winning built works of architecture and residential projects under construction to the value of $1.7M. Through multiple presentations on national media Dr Ian Weir has achieved a high level of impact with end users and the Australian public at large.

Dr Manuela Taboada

Dr Manuela Taboada has a background in visual communication design, collaborative branding and sustainable tourism. She has worked in Australia, Brazil and East-Timor and is currently working on research projects in the areas of collaborative brand design, place identity, sustainable tourism and management.

Dr Taboada joined QUT in 2010 and is currently investigating social identities in tropical and subtropical urban environments. She is interested in the social roles of design, especially in relation to eliciting and supporting social change, construction of identity and placemaking. Manuela has an interest in the historical aspects of design and the vernacular, in particular how technology and the processes of making and communicating help shape societies.

Professor Peter Richards

Professor Peter Richards is a registered Architect and Urban Designer. He is also a director of Deicke Richards Architects – a multi disciplinary design practice based in Brisbane.

As an architect and urban designer, Peter has developed a wide range of design, visualization, representation and implementation skills which he applies to projects at all scales and complexities. These range from community facilities, through housing to large complex public buildings and neighbourhood and town design throughout Australia. He is particularly interested in collaborative design processes and methods and has led or been involved in over forty design workshops.

Dr Marianella Chamorro-Koc

Dr Marianella Chamorro-Koc is an Industrial Designer who works within the world class People and Systems Research laboratory (PAS Lab) and is focusing on people’s interaction with technologies, context of use, experimental knowledge and applied product research focusing on usability, activity and the enhancement of user experiences. Within Product Design and Design research, Dr Chamorro-Koc’s main areas of interest include:

  • User experience and context-of-use issues for the design of user-product interactions
  • Human factors and product usability
  • Interface design of design tools
  • Design process
  • Design for social innovation.

Professor Robin Drogemuller

Professor Robin Drogemuller is an Architect and Professor of Digital Design at QUT. He leads the Complex Urban Systems Design Centre. He has spent over 20 years working and living in tropical and subtropical environments as an Architect and academic.

Robin’s research work at QUT has included monitoring the environmental performance of housing and commercial buildings and identifying methods of improving performance, both from a technical perspective and identifying patterns of user behaviour. This work has contributed to a research portfolio around the use of computer-based tools to support the design, construction and operation of buildings. His areas of expertise include:

  • Building Information Modeling
  • Parametric Geometry Modeling
  • IT Systems to support building design, construction and facilities management.

Dr Tiziana Ferrero-Regis

Dr Tiziana Ferrero-Regis has taught for several years in Film and Cultural studies, before returning to fashion, an area in which she forged a professional career for more than a decade in Italy. Between 1977 and 1991 she worked in Milan across many fields of the creative industries: in advertising, production co-ordinator on the Italian edition of ‘Vogue’ and as a freelance writer. Her PhD – a study on recent Italian cinema that blends history with the industry, was completed at Griffith University.

Tiziana has published in several journals on a range of topics that include memory and history in cultural representations, as well as on the politics of fashion in Italy. From her visits to communities of women workers in the textile and clothing industry in India in the middle of the 1980s, she has developed an interest in the division of international labour and sustainability. This is the core of her current research, but other fields of publication or interest include studies on the role of the designer, fashion and film, and the politics of fashion.

Associate Professor Kathi Holt-Damant

Associate Professor Kathi Holt-Damant is an Architect and Urban Designer, working on problems relating to the urbanisation of culture and the impact on urban resources including land, water, infrastructure, mass transit, energy, resilience, food production and housing. She has a particular focus on designing urban space systems that enhance the environment and build strong, healthy communities.

Kathi has delivered design research programs at the University of Melbourne, RMIT University, The University of Queensland and Columbia University, New York. Dr Holt-Damant has been an invited critic at CU NY, The Parsons New School of Design, NY, Sci Arc Los Angles, University of Leuven, Belgium and the University of Auckland, NZ.

Mellini Sloan

Mellini Sloan is a lecturer in Urban and Regional Planning at the Queensland University of Technology. Prior to arriving in Brisbane in 2009, Mellini worked as an environmental engineering consultant to local governments in Florida, and state and federal environmental agencies, advising on issues related to the interfaces between water and the built environment, including water supply, storm water, and wastewater management. Mellini’s current research examines the role of crises, communication, and prior actions in decision-making processes and outcomes, specifically focusing on challenges to increasing community resilience to climate change.

Her main area of research includes:

  • Disaster management: scenario planning; infrastructure resilience; change management; adaptive response
  • Environmental planning and policy: water resource sustainability; integrated water resource planning; ecosystem restoration and management
  • Urban and regional planning: urban resilience; land use policy
  • Place dynamics: sense of place and inter-relationship with active transport behaviour
  • Technology and society: technology adoption; regulatory frameworks; politics of expertise
  • Planning history: early Twentieth Century US; contemporary Australia.

Dr Connie Susilawati

Dr Connie Susilawati is a Property Economist with strong interest in housing sustainability, housing affordability and asset management research. She is currently working with higher degree research students from Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh and the Middle East.

Connie’s research interests include public participation in social infrastructure, public asset management framework, sustainable assessment tools in landscape design for housing, community participation to improve access to affordable housing, application of sustainable housing in developing countries. Since 2010, she has been a member of Housing Affordability Task Force for Sunshine Coast Regional Council. Her involvement includes development of Affordable Living Strategy and Housing Choice Research Project. She also serves on the Pacific Rim Real Estate Society Board, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Queensland Committee), and member of editorial board of Pacific Rim Property Research Journal. She has contributed to housing research funded by Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. She has been involved in organising an international training program funded by AusAid in Indonesia, international conference, PhD colloquium and international CIB student symposium.

Professor Arun Kumar

Professor Arun Kumar is a civil engineer with over 40 years experience in Australia, India, USA, Cambodia, Laos, China and Vietnam. Dr Kumar’s experience spans a career in civil construction, consulting, research and academia. His areas of expertise include: roads and highways, resilient infrastructure, project management, asset management, capacity building and institutional strengthening and infrastructure research.

Dr Kumar is a Professor of Infrastructure Management at QUT; a consultant to the World Bank; Professor Emeritus, RMIT Melbourne, Australia, Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia; Vice President, Australia and NZ: International Society for Maintenance and Rehabilitation of Transport Infrastructures; Fellow of the International Society of Engineering Asset management.