Professor John Macarthur

Professor

School of Architecture
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
j.macarthur@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 53780

Overview

Professor John Macarthur is Director of the research centre for Architecture, Theory, Criticism and History (ATCH) at the University of Queensland where he also teaches architectural design. He was Dean and Head of School from 2009 to June 2013. He is a past President and Life Member of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (2001-3), chaired its Editorial Board from 2004-9, and has roles on the editorial boards of the journals Fabrications, Architecture Theory Review, Journal of Architecture, and Interstices. In 2014 he was Visiting Professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.

John graduated from the University of Queensland with Bachelor (Hons 1st) and Master of Design Studies degrees (1984) before taking a doctorate at the University of Cambridge (1989) where he studied with Joseph Rykwert and later with Mark Cousins while teaching design in the studio of Colin St J Wilson.

His research focuses on the intellectual history of architecture. John has edited four books and published over 120 papers including contributions to the journals Assemblage, Transition, Architecture Research Quarterly, Oase and the Journal of Architecture. His major work, The Picturesque: architecture, disgust and other irregularities, was published by Routledge in 2007. Two books edited with colleagues were published in 2015; The Baroque In Architectural Culture, 1880-1980, (Ashgate) and Hot Modernism. Queensland Architecture 1945-1975 (Artifice). John is currently working on the aesthetics of architecture and its relation to the visual arts.

John has experience in research assessment having been an expert assessor for the Australian Research Council's grants schemes for many years. He served on the Research Evaluations Committee for Humanities and Creative Arts on the national research quality audit Excellence for Research in Australia (ERA) in 2010 and 2012. He currently serves on the ARC's College of Experts.

Research Interests

  • Architecture between art and aesthetics
    I am broadly interested in how architecture has been considered an art, defined by concepts of philosophical aesthetics on the one hand, and the social and professional institutions of the different arts on the other. The often conflicting determinations of art and aesthetics have a rich history going back to the eighteenth century and continue to define the professional and popular views of architecture. I am interested in relatively technical issues such as the concept of disgust in the eighteenth century picturesque and how the picturesque relates to later romanticism; but also in the assumptions of cultural industries policy in relating architecture to the creative and economic capacities of a population. A recent publication that gives and overview of some of these interests is: John Macarthur & Naomi Stead, “Introduction: architecture and aesthetics” in Stephen Cairns, Greig Crysler and Hilde Heynen (ed.s) The Sage Handbook of Architectural Theory, London: Sage, 2012, pp 123-135.
  • The Architecture of Queensland
    I am involved with colleagues in the ATCH Centre in the recording and analysing the architecture of the Australian State of Queensland. Parallel studies involve archival research, oral histories, and discourse analysis using computer semantic text analysis tools. Themes of the study include architectural education, public policy, claims to climatic determination, and regional character. A recent publication is: Naomi Stead, Deborah van der Plaat, and John Macarthur, “A taste for place: The cultivation of an audience for climate-responsive architecture in Queensland.”, in: Antony Moulis and Deborah van der Plaat, Proceedings of the XXVIIIth International Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand. 28th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, Brisbane, Australia, (1-15). 7-10 July 2011.

Qualifications

  • PhD, University of Cambridge
  • Master of Design Studies, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Design Studies (Hons), The University of Queensland

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Architecture has been considered an art, or not, for different reasons which follow two main branches. The first branch is the consideration of architecture's place among ‘the arts’ understood as an institution of cognate knowledges and practices. The alternative track is to consider architecture through the concept of aesthetics which a human orientation to beauty in all of the material world both natural and artifactual and a faculty anterior to the social institution of art and the arts. PhD projects within this stream might include: the intellectual history of art, architecture and philosophical aesthetics since the 18th century; the place of building and architectural representation in contemporary art practice; and how standards of taste were formed historically and are today.

  • The aesthetic concept of the picturesque and, to a greater extent, the cultural practices associated with it were significant in the history of the European settlements in present day Australia and New Zealand. Projects suitable for Phd investigation include: the circulation of books of designs and advice on architecture and gardening; the role of mid 19th century publications on the aesthetic and agricultural potential of the colonies in powering immigration and expanded settlements; and the role of nature aesthetics in town planning.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Featured Publications

Book

Book Chapter

  • Stead, Naomi, van der Plaat, Deborah and Macarthur, John (2017). Building flagships: regionalism, place branding, and architecture as image in the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. In Eva-Maria Troelenberg and Melania Savino (Ed.), Images of the art museum: connecting gaze and discourse in the history of museology (pp. 261-286) Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter.

  • Macarthur, John (2017). Luscombe Castle (1799). In Harry Francis Mallgrave (Ed.), Companions to the history of architecture: eighteenth-century architecture (pp. 1-5) Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons. doi:10.1002/9781118887226.wbcha076

  • Aitchison, Mathew and Macarthur, John (2017). Prefabricated housing in architectural culture. In Ryan E. Smith and John D. Quale (Ed.), Offsite: constructing a post-industrial future (pp. 77-89) Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Gosseye, Janina and Macarthur, John P. (2015). Angry Young Architects: counterculture and the critique of Modernism in Brisbane, 1967-1972. In John P. Macarthur, Deborah van der Plaat, Janina Gosseye and Andrew Wilson (Ed.), Hot modernism: Queensland architecture 1945-1975 (pp. 30-45) London, United Kingdom: Artifice.

  • Macarthur, John, Riddel, Robert and Watson, Donald (2015). Civic visions for Brisbane. In John Macarthur, Deborah van der Plaat, Janina Gosseye and Andrew Wilson (Ed.), Hot modernism: Queensland architecture 1945-1975 (pp. 217-235) London, United Kingdom: Artifice Books on Architecture.

  • Leach, Andrew, Macarthur, John and Delbeke, Maarten (2015). Defining a problem: 
modern architecture and the Baroque. In Andrew Leach, John Macarthur and Maarten Delbeke (Ed.), The Baroque in architectural culture, 1880-1980 (pp. 1-12) Farnsworth, United Kingdom: Ashgate.

  • Macarthur, John (2015). Geoffrey Scott, the Baroque, and the picturesque. In Andrew Leach, John Macarthur and Maarten Delbeke (Ed.), The Baroque in architectural culture, 1880-1980 (pp. 61-71) Farnsworth, United Kingdom: Ashgate.

  • Macarthur, John (2015). Letters to the people. In Mark Raggatt and Maitiu Ward (Ed.), Mongrel Rapture: The Architecture of Ashton Raggatt McDougall (pp. 1345-1352) Melbourne, VIC Australia: Uro Publications.

  • Macarthur, John (2014). 'The World' and Charters Towers: gold, stock exchanges and the electric telegraph at the beginning of globalisation. In Philip Goldswain, Nicole Sully and William M. Taylor (Ed.), Out of Place (Gwalia): Occasional essays on Australian regional communities and built environments in transition (pp. 129-158) Perth, WA, Australia: University of Western Australia Press.

  • Macarthur, John (2014). Of character and concrete: the historian's material. In Ian Borden, Murray Fraser and Barbara Penner (Ed.), Forty ways to think about architecture: architectural history and theory today (pp. 150-154) Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley.

  • Macarthur, John (2013). The figure from above: on the obliqueness of the plan in urbanism and architecture. In Mark Dorrian and Frédéric Pousin (Ed.), Seeing from Above: The Aerial View in Visual Culture (pp. 188-209) London, UK: I. B. Tauris.

  • Macarthur, John and van der Plaat, Deborah (2012). Cummings, Robert. In Philip Goad and Julie Willis (Ed.), The encyclopedia of Australian architecture (pp. 184-185) Port Melbourne, VIC, Australia: Cambridge University Press.

  • Macarthur, John P. (2012). Federation Square. In Philip Goad and Julie Willis (Ed.), The encyclopedia of Australian architecture (pp. 246-246) Port Melbourne, VIC, Australia: Cambridge University Press.

  • Macarthur, John (2012). Introduction. In Robert Riddel (Ed.), Robin Dods: selected works (pp. 13-15) Brisbane, Australia: URO Media.

  • Macarthur, John and Stead, Naomi (2012). Introduction: architecture and aesthetics. In C. Greg Crysler, Stephen Cairns and Hilde Heynen (Ed.), The SAGE handbook of architectural theory (pp. 123-136) London, United Kingdom: Sage Publications.

  • Macarthur, John P. (2012). Keniger, Michael. In Philip Goad and Julie Willis (Ed.), The encyclopedia of Australian architecture (pp. 381-381) Port Melbourne, VIC, Australia: Cambridge University Press.

  • Macarthur, John (2012). La figure vue de dessus: de l’oblique du plan dans l’urbanisme et l’architecture. In Mark Dorrian and Frederic Pousin (Ed.), Vues aériennes: seize etudes pour une histoire culturelle (pp. 149-166) Geneva, Switzerland: MetisPresses.

  • Hawker, Rosemary and Macarthur, John P. (2012). Louise Forthun: love story. In Michele Helmrich and Ian Were (Ed.), New, v. 2: selected recent acquisitions, 2009-011 (pp. 53-54) St Lucia, Qld., Australia: The University of Queensland Art Museum.

  • Macarthur, John (2012). National Museum of Australia. In Philip Goad and Julie Willis (Ed.), The encyclopedia of Australian architecture (pp. 488-489) Port Melbourne, VIC, Australia: Cambridge University Press.

  • Macarthur, John (2012). Sense, meaning and taste in architectural criticism. In Naomi Stead (Ed.), Semi-detached: Writing, representation and criticism in architecture (pp. 229-235) Melbourne, Australia: Uro Media.

  • Macarthur, John (2012). The world remade: art and mimesis in the work of Luc Deleu. In Wouter Davidts, Guy Chatel and Stefaan Vervoort (Ed.), Luc Deleu: orban space: the work and practice of Luc Deleu, T.O.P. office (pp. 33-44) Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Valiz.

  • Macarthur, John (2012). Ugliness and romanticism in the work of Lyons. In Lyons (Ed.), More: the architecture of Lyons 1996-2011 (pp. 267-272) Port Melbourne, Vic., Australia: Thames and Hudson.

  • Macarthur, John P. and Aitchison, Mathew H. (2010). Pevsner's townscape. In Mathew H. Aitchison (Ed.), Visual planning and the picturesque (pp. 1-43) Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A.: Getty Research Institute.

  • Macarthur, John (2009). Architecture and the system of the arts; or, Kant on landscape gardening. In John Macarthur and Andrew Leach (Ed.), Architecture, Disciplinarity, and the Arts (pp. 27-44) Ghent, Belgium: A & S Books (University of Ghent).

  • Macarthur, John and Leach, Andrew (2009). Architecture disciplinarity and the arts: Considering the issues. In John Macarthur and Andrew Leach (Ed.), Architecture, Disciplinarity, and the Arts (pp. 7-15) Ghent, Belgium: A & S Books (University of Ghent).

  • Macarthur, John (2009). Landscape and prospect from the picturesque to aerial photography. In Steven Jacobs and Frank Maes (Ed.), Beyond the Picturesque (pp. 209-219) Ghent, Belgium: Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst.

  • Macarthur, John P. (2008). Peter Hennessey: Will therapy be enough?. In Michele Helmrich (Ed.), New: Selected recent acquisitions, 2007-2008 (pp. 110-111) Brisbane, Australia: The University of Queensland Art Museum.

  • Macarthur, John and Stead, N. J. (2006). National museum of Australia as Danse Macabre: Baroque allegories of the popular. In Chris Healy and Andrea Witcomb (Ed.), South Pacific museums: Experiments in culture (pp. 20-32) Melbourne; Sydney, Australia: Monash E-Press.

  • Macarthur, John (2006). Visual appropriation and property in the theory of Humphry Repton. In William Taylor (Ed.), The Geography of Law: landscape, identity and regulation 1st ed. (pp. 49-64) Oxford: Hart.

  • Macarthur, John (2001). Remarks around a pause: The plan and the architectural object. In C. Murphy and S. Murray (Ed.), Pause (pp. 9-12) Melbourne: RMIT University Press.

  • Macarthur, John (2000). From the Air: Collage City, Aerial Photography and the Picturesque. In Michael Ostwald and John Moore (Ed.), Re-Framing Architecture: Theory, Science and Myth (pp. 113-120) Sydney: Archadia Press.

  • Macarthur, John (2000). Materials historical and plastic. In J. Macarthur (Ed.), Imaginary Materials: A Seminar With Michael Carter (pp. 29-34) Brisbane: IMA Publishing.

  • Macarthur, John (1999). Building and landscape as an issue of city scale. In B. Busfield and P. Richards (Ed.), 1997-1998 CHASA Refereed Design Scheme Catalogue (pp. 9-15) Nedlands, WA: Studio Sch. of Architecture, UWA.

  • Macarthur, John (1999). Tactile simulations: Architecture and the image of the public at Brisbane's Kodak Beach. In R. Barcan and I. Buchanan (Ed.), Imagining Australian Space (pp. 177-192) Nedlands, WA: Univ. of W A Press.

  • Macarthur, John and Murray, Shane (1997). Form and Materials: some notes on Birrell's aesthetic. In BIRRELL: work from the office of James Birrell (pp. 6-12) Melboure: NMBW.

  • Macarthur, John (1993). Experiencing absence: Eisenman and Derrida, Benjamin and Schwitters. In Macarthur, John (Ed.), Knowledge and/or/of experience (pp. 99-123) Brisbane: Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Queensland.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Macarthur, John (2015). Architecture, HEAT and the government of culture. In: Paul Hogben and Judith O’Callaghan, Proceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand: 32, Architecture, Institutions and Change. Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference, Sydney, NSW, Australia, (366-377). 7-10 July 2015.

  • Gosseye, Janina and Macarthur, John (2014). Angry young architects: counterculture and the critique of Modernism in Brisbane, 1967-72. In: Christoph Schnoor, Translation: The 31st Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference. Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, (264-275). 2-5 July, 2014.

  • van der Plaat, Deborah, Hunter, Jane, Gosseye, Janina, Macarthur, John and Wilson, Andrew (2013). Digital stories and semantic web technologies: new practices in developing and interpreting an architectural archive. In: 66th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Buffalo, NY, United States, (). 10-14 April 2013.

  • Hunter, Jane, Macarthur, John, van der Plaat, Deborah, Gosseye, Janina, Wilson, Andrew and Bannerman, Gavin (2012). A Web 3.0 approach to building an online digital archive of architectural practice in post-War Queensland. In: Brisbane 2012 Congress: A Climate of Change. 17th International Council of Archives (ICA) Congress, Brisbane, Australia, (39-53). 20-24 August 2012. doi:10.3828/comma.2012.2.5

  • Hunter, Jane, Macarthur, John, van der Plaat, Deborah, Wilson, Andrew, Muys, Andrae and Bannerman, Gavin (2012). A Web 3.0 approach to building an online digital archive of architectural practice in post-war Queensland. In: A Climate of Change. International Council on Archives Congress 2012, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, (). 20 - 24 August 2012.

  • Stead, Naomi, van der Plaat, Deborah and Macathur, John (2011). A taste for place: The cultivation of an audience for climate-responsive architecture in Queensland. In: Antony Moulis and Deborah van der Plaat, Audience: The 28th Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference. Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference, Brisbane, Australia, (1-15). 7-10 July 2011.

  • Macarthur, John (2008). Baroque architecture and the system of the arts. In: David Beynon and Ursula de Jong, History in Practice: The 25th Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference. Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference, Deakin University, Geelong, (). 3-6 July, 2008.

  • Macarthur, John P. and Moulis, Antony (2008). Painting and design in the architecture of Le Corbusier. In: Rosemary Hawker and Ross Woodrow, Alpha Alpha November Zulu, Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand. Annual Conference of the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand, Brisbane, (5-5). 5-6 December 2008.

  • Macarthur, John (2007). Strange Encounters in Mid-Century British Urbanism: Townscape, Anti-Scrape and Surrealism. In: Loo, Steven and Bartsch, Katharine, Panorama to Paradise: Proceedings of the XXIVth International Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand. Panorama to Paradise:The XXIVth International Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, Adelaide, South Australia, (1-13). 21-23 September, 2007.

  • Stead, Naomi and Macarthur, John (2006). The potential for architectural criticism within the post-critical. In: Stylos Conference on Projective Practice, Delft, The Netherlands, (). 16-17 March 2006.

  • Macarthur, John and Moulis, Antony (2005). Movement and figurality: The circulation diagram and the history of the architectural plan. In: Andrew Leach and Gill Mathewson, Celebration: Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand. Celebration: 22nd Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, Napier, New Zealand, (231-235). 24-27 September 2005.

  • Macarthur, John and Aitchison, M. H. (2004). Ivor de Wolfe's picturesque, or who and what as townscape. In: H. Edquist and H. Frichot, Limits: Proceedings of the 21st Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand. Limits: Proceedings of the 21st Annual Conference of SAHANZ, Melbourne, (301-306). 26-29th September, 2004.

  • Macarthur, John (2004). Picturesque minimalism: Architecture, visual experience and form. In: S. Poole and P. Sarpaneva, Contribution and Confusion: Proceedings of the 2003 ACSA International Conference. 2003 ACSA International Conference, Helsinki, Finland, (452-457). 27-30 July 2003.

  • Moulis, Antony and Macarthur, John P. (2002). Introduction. In: J. P. Macarthur and A. Moulis, Additions to architectural history: Nineteenth Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand. XIX Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand, Brisbane, Qld, Australia, (). 4-7 October, 2002.

  • Macarthur, John (2001). The picturesque movement-effect:Motion and architectural affects in Wolfflin and Benjamin. In: K. Green, In The Making: Architecture's Past: Proceedings of the 18th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand. The 18th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, Darwin, (257-266). 30 Sept - 3 Oct, 2001.

  • Macarthur, John (2000). Art and architecture, objects and material. In: A. McNamara and R. Butler, 21st Century Modernism? Critical Reflections on Art History Today. Art Association Annual Conference, Brisbane, (). 7 - 10 Dec, 2000.

  • Macarthur, John (2000). Brutalism, ugliness and the picturesque object. In: Leach, Andrew and Petrovic, Emina, Formulation Fabrication - The Architecture of History: Proceedings of the Seventeenth Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand. Formulation Fabrication Papers from the Seventeenth Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand,, Wellington, New Zealand, (259-266). 13 - 17 Nov, 2000.

  • Macarthur, John (1999). Image building: Space and image as materials in art and architecture. In: R. Blythe and R. Spence, Thresholds: Papers of the the Sixteenth Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand. Thresholds, Launceston/Hobart, (213-219). 28 Sept - 1 Oct, 1999.

  • Macarthur, John (1999). Image-building: From the application of images to the imagination of space. In: R. Blythe and R. Spence, Thresholds: Papers of the Sixteenth Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australian and New Zealand. Thresholds, Launceston/ Hobart, (xi). 28 Sept - 1 Oct 1999.

  • Lambie, L. and Macarthur, J. (1995). Grasping the intangible: some thoughts on a photograph of demolished buildings. In: Moving On: Australia ICOMOS Conference 1995, Charters Towers, QLD, Australia, (). 8-10 September, 1995.

Edited Outputs

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Architecture has been considered an art, or not, for different reasons which follow two main branches. The first branch is the consideration of architecture's place among ‘the arts’ understood as an institution of cognate knowledges and practices. The alternative track is to consider architecture through the concept of aesthetics which a human orientation to beauty in all of the material world both natural and artifactual and a faculty anterior to the social institution of art and the arts. PhD projects within this stream might include: the intellectual history of art, architecture and philosophical aesthetics since the 18th century; the place of building and architectural representation in contemporary art practice; and how standards of taste were formed historically and are today.

  • The aesthetic concept of the picturesque and, to a greater extent, the cultural practices associated with it were significant in the history of the European settlements in present day Australia and New Zealand. Projects suitable for Phd investigation include: the circulation of books of designs and advice on architecture and gardening; the role of mid 19th century publications on the aesthetic and agricultural potential of the colonies in powering immigration and expanded settlements; and the role of nature aesthetics in town planning.