Dr Timothy O'Rourke

Senior Lecturer in Architecture

School of Architecture
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
+61 7 336 53848


Tim O’Rourke's research is broadly concerned with past and present applications of cross-cultural design across different building types and settings. Such projects often require multi-disciplinary approaches to the study of architectural problems, informed by histories of buildings and the people that use them. A current study of healthcare architecture combines different research methods to ask if design can improve the experience and participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in hospitals and clinics. Tim's PhD examined the history and use of Aboriginal building traditions in the Wet Tropics Region of Queensland. He has contributed to a range of research projects related to Indigenous housing, settlements and landscapes. Research topics include self-constructed dwellings and vernacular building technologies, cultural tourism, adaption to climate change and housing sustainability. Results from these studies have been published in technical reports, conference proceedings, journals and as book chapters.

Tim is a registered architect, having worked in architectural practices Brisbane and Sydney, and he maintains an interest in timber construction and joinery. As a sole practitioner, he has designed residential projects and worked on a range of building types for Aboriginal communities. He teaches architectural technology and design, and offers research topics in the Master of Architecture program.


Fellow Australian Institute of Architects, Environmental Design Research Association

Research Interests

  • Cross-cultural design of healthcare architecture
    A multi-disciplinary approach is used to elicit data on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perceptions, experience and use of healthcare settings in urban, regional and remote locations. The aim of the research is to make evidence-based design recommendations on the spatial characteristics and architectural features that might improve participation in health services and ameiliorate stress associated with different types of care.
  • The architectural design of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing
    This research analyses and evaluates the architectural design, construction and use of Indigenous housing. The primary aim of this research is to add to the meagre empirical evidence on Indigenous housing, which can influence both policy and practice.
  • Traditional Aboriginal built environments
    This research examines the construction and use of dwellings and camps by different Aboriginal groups across periods ranging from early contact to contemporary self-constructed environments. These studies inform debates on material culture, identity and cultural heritage, and architectural history. Socio-spatial and behavioural analyses of these environments can be used to inform mainstream architectural practice.

Research Impacts

The aim of current research on healthcare architecture for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is to influence policies and practice that inform the planning and architectural design of hospitals and clinics across Australia.


  • PhD, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Architecture (Honours), The University of Queensland


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  • Brereton, David, Memmott, Paul, Reser, Joseph, Buultjens, Jeremy, Thomson, Linda, Barker, Tanuja, O'Rourke, Timothy and Chambers, Catherine (2007). Mining and indigenous tourism in Northern Australia. Gold Coast, QLD, Australia.: Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) for Sustainable Tourism.

Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Edited Outputs

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor