Dr Susan Holden

Senior Lecturer in Architecture

School of Architecture
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
s.holden@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 53958

Overview

Susan is a registered architect, architectural educator and researcher with a PhD in Architecture from the University of Queensland (2014), and professional qualifications and experience. Prior to her academic career Susan worked in practice for over 10 years in Australia and the UK, gaining experience on a range of project scales and types including community, civic, housing and urban design. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects and has contributed to its education committee, and regional and state awards programs in urban design, residential design and art-architecture. She currently sits on the AIA National Gender Equity Committee.

Susan’s research explores architecture and urban design histories; architecture in cultural policy and design governance; and the commissioning, curating and collecting of architecture by cultural institutions in the GLAM sector (galleries, libraries, and museums). Her research and criticism is widely published in academic, professional and industry journals including Journal of Architecture, European Journal of Creative Practices in Cities and Landscapes, AA Files, Leonardo, Fabrications and Architecture Australia. Susan has presented her research in a range of national and international forums. She has been an invited guest lecturer and critic at Ghent University, Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte in Paris, Monash University and Griffith University in Australia, and in 2012 was a Visiting Professor in the VAMA (Visual Arts Media and Architecture) Masters Programme at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Susan has also been invited to chair and contribute to expert panels at the SCCI Architecture Hub Sydney, Museum of Brisbane, the UQ Art Museum and for the Committee for Brisbane.

Susan has been the recipient of a number of competitive awards and grants for her research. She is currently a Chief Investigator on the ARC funded project Is Architecture Art?: A history of categories, concepts and recent practices(2016-2021), which analyses the changing place of architecture in the realm of culture and cultural administration. This project has produced three books: Pavilion Propositions: Nine Points on an Architectural Phenomenon (2018), Trading Between Architecture and Art: Strategies and Practices of Exchange (2019) and Valuing Architecture: Heritage and the Economics of Culture (2020), and convened two conferences (see: https://isarchitectureart.com/publications/). Susan was also a Chief Investigator on the ARC funded project Campus: Building Modern Australian Universities (2016-2020), which brought together experts from five Australian Universities in an inter-disciplinary team to research the landscape, architecture, planning and heritage of the modern campus in Australia. She is a contributing author to Campus: Building Modern Australian Universities (forthcoming with UWA Press in 2021).

Susan’s research also informs teaching and curriculum development in the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology at UQ. In 2021 Susan will contribute to two projects to develop Indigenous and inter-cultural content for built environment and design education, as part of teams led by indigenous experts.

Awards

2019 UQ Promoting Women Fellowship

2010 David Saunders Founders Grant Award (SAHANZ) (with Jared Bird)

2000 QIA Medallion (Australian Institute of Architects, Qld Chapter)

Memberships

Registered Architect, Board of Architects Queensland

Fellow, Australian Institute of Architects (AIA)

Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ)

Research Interests

  • Architecture in Cultural Policy
  • Commissioning, Curating and Collecting Architecture
  • Design Governance
  • Campus Design
  • Architecture and Urban Design Histories
  • Australian Architecture

Research Impacts

Susan has been the recipient of a number of competitive awards and grants for her research, including two ARC Discovery grants. The Is Architecture Art? project has brought together an international network of researchers to explore intersections between architecture and art as a way to better understand the place of architecture in contemporary cultural and cultural policy. The Campus: Building Modern Australian Universities project produced the first comprehensive account of the development of the modern campus in Australia and connects this knowledge with discourses and practices concerned with the future of campus design.

Susan’s expertise in the area of art and architecture has led to invitations to contribute to expert panels at the SCCI Architecture Hub Sydney, the Museum of Brisbane, the UQ Art Museum and for the Committee for Brisbane. Her analysis of contemporary architecture and practice has been published in Architecture Australia, NGV Magazine, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, Design Online and The Conversation. In 2016 Susan was part of the ABC commissioned documentary series Streets of Your Town which examined the architecture of the Australian suburbs.

Susan’s doctoral research on the design of the iconic Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the cultural significance of the international competition held for its design in 1971, was recognised by an invitation in 2012 to contribute to the Métamatic Research Initiative, a project involving academics, artists and curators, hosted by the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam.

Susan is a recipient of the UQ Promoting Women Fellowship and a SAHANZ Saunders Founders Grant award.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Architecture (Hons), The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland

Publications

  • Holden, Susan and Paine, Ashley (2020). Curating architecture and the city: recent Australian pavilions. European Journal of Creative Practices in Cities and Landscapes, 3 (1), 117-138. doi: 10.6092/issn.2612-0496/10140

  • Holden, Susan and Willink, Rosemary (2020). Value on display: curating Robin Hood Gardens. Valuing architecture: heritage and the economics of culture. (pp. 96-117) edited by Ashley Paine, Susan Holden and John Macarthur. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Valiz.

  • Ashley Paine, Susan Holden and John Macarthur eds. (2020). Valuing Architecture: Heritage and the Economics of Culture. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Valiz.

  • Holden, Susan (2019). Assemble's Turner Prize: utility and creativity in the cultural economy. Trading between architecture and art: strategies and practices of exchange. (pp. 50-62) edited by Wouter Davidts, Susan Holden and Ashley Paine. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Valiz.

  • Holden, Susan and Logan, Cameron (2018). Core, courtyard, grid: civic form and the (late) modern campus in Australia. Australasian Urban History Planning History Conference, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, 31 January - 2 February 2018. Melbourne, VIC, Australia: RMIT Centre for Urban Research.

  • Holden, Susan (2016, 10 05). Opening Doors and Minds: The Open House Phenomenon The Conversation

  • Holden, Susan and Bird, Jared (2015). Bush civics. Architecture Australia (4), 68-70.

  • Holden, Susan (2015). Possible Pompidous. AA Files, 70, 33-45.

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Supervision

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Available Projects

  • This research explores the ways that architecture is valued as part of the arts and culture, with a focus on examining its inclusion and exclusion in cultural policy. Topics include an examination of the history of Australian cultural policy across the three tiers of government; the influence of the cultural economy as a context for cultural policy; the place of architecture in different kinds of policy initiatives from the Australia Council’s support of the Venice Architecture Biennale to municipal and city governments embrace of creative cities policies; and the relationship between cultural policy and the collections and exhibition agendas of cultural institutions that engage with architecture.

  • A current focus in this research theme is the phenomenon of contemporary collecting which encompasses the collection of contemporary cultural content and artefacts, as well as the practices of institutions that aim to foreground the contemporary moment through collection management and curatorial strategies. It aims to explore how architecture is part of this cultural agenda, and how this provides a new way to think about established conventions such as conservation and heritage. It builds on past research on museum expansion, architectural competitions, and the contemporary architectural pavilion phenomenon.

  • This research seeks insights into the changing mechanisms for influence and advocacy through which architects can shape the built environment beyond building. It explores the interrelationship between regulation, incentives, design review panels, exhibitions and education as forms of design governance.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Featured Publications

Book

Book Chapter

  • Holden, Susan (2022). Parallel narratives of disciplinary disruption: the bush campus as design and pedagogical concept. Architectural education through materiality: pedagogies of 20th century design. (pp. 164-188) edited by Elke Couchez and Rajesh Heynickx. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781003201205-13

  • Macarthur, John , Holden, Susan and Paine, Ashley (2020). For what it’s worth: the value of architecture as heritage and culture. Valuing architecture: heritage and the economics of culture. (pp. 8-21) edited by Ashley Paine, Susan Holden and John Macarthur. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Valiz.

  • Holden, Susan and Willink, Rosemary (2020). Value on display: curating Robin Hood Gardens. Valuing architecture: heritage and the economics of culture. (pp. 96-117) edited by Ashley Paine, Susan Holden and John Macarthur. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Valiz.

  • Holden, Susan (2019). Assemble's Turner Prize: utility and creativity in the cultural economy. Trading between architecture and art: strategies and practices of exchange. (pp. 50-62) edited by Wouter Davidts, Susan Holden and Ashley Paine. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Valiz.

  • Davidts, Wouter, Holden, Susan and Paine, Ashley (2019). The terms of trade of architecture and art. Trading between architecture and art: strategies and practices of exchange. (pp. 9-15) edited by Wouter Davidts, Susan Holden and Ashley Paine. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Valiz.

  • Holden, Susan (2019). Torbreck. Australia modern: architecture, landscape & design 1925–1975. (pp. 158-159) edited by Hannah Lewi and Philip Goad. Melbourne, VIC Australia: Thames and Hudson.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current 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.

  • This research explores the ways that architecture is valued as part of the arts and culture, with a focus on examining its inclusion and exclusion in cultural policy. Topics include an examination of the history of Australian cultural policy across the three tiers of government; the influence of the cultural economy as a context for cultural policy; the place of architecture in different kinds of policy initiatives from the Australia Council’s support of the Venice Architecture Biennale to municipal and city governments embrace of creative cities policies; and the relationship between cultural policy and the collections and exhibition agendas of cultural institutions that engage with architecture.

  • A current focus in this research theme is the phenomenon of contemporary collecting which encompasses the collection of contemporary cultural content and artefacts, as well as the practices of institutions that aim to foreground the contemporary moment through collection management and curatorial strategies. It aims to explore how architecture is part of this cultural agenda, and how this provides a new way to think about established conventions such as conservation and heritage. It builds on past research on museum expansion, architectural competitions, and the contemporary architectural pavilion phenomenon.

  • This research seeks insights into the changing mechanisms for influence and advocacy through which architects can shape the built environment beyond building. It explores the interrelationship between regulation, incentives, design review panels, exhibitions and education as forms of design governance.

  • This theme collects several strands of research on modern architecture and urban design, including intersections between art and architecture in the twentieth century, the evolution of campus design and its relationship to civic design and the emergence of urban design practice, and the evolution of built environment education.