Professor John Macarthur

Professor

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

Overview

John Macarthur is Professor of architecture at the University of Queensland where he conducts research and teaches in the history and theory of architecture, and in architectural design. 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). He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities and a Fellow of the Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was the founding Director of the research centre for Architecture, Theory, Criticism and History (ATCH) and remains an active member of the Centre. He has previously served as Dean and Head of the School of Architecture at UQ and as a member of the Australian Research Council’s College of Experts. He is a past President and a Life Member of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand.

His research in the intellectual history architecture has focused on the conceptual framework of the interrelation of architecture, aesthetics and the arts. His book The Picturesque: architecture, disgust and other irregularities, was published by Routledge in 2007. John has edited a further six books and published over 140 papers including contributions to the journals Assemblage, Transition, Architecture Research Quarterly, Oase and the Journal of Architecture. His current project is a sole authored book on architecture and aesthetics, which is part of a wider Australian Research Council funded project on this topic.

Memberships

Fellow, Australian Academy of Humanities Fellow, Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences Life Member, Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand

Research Interests

  • Architecture cultural policy and liberalism
    Architecture is absent from national cultural policy in Australia despite being a significant part of the cultural economy and the way that civic identity is formed. Taste, civic norms and the economy come together in buildings and urban spaces, but there is little understanding about how they interact at personal, community and national levels. Recent econometric accounts of culture include architecture, forcing the issue of its place in cultural policy. This project aims to study architecture as a matter of culture that overcomes the gaps between concepts and administrative categories. Its goal is to inform better policy formation, increased public engagement with architecture, and growth in the creative economy.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Architecture is absent from national cultural policy in Australia despite being a significant part of the cultural economy and the way that civic identity is formed. Taste, civic norms and the economy come together in buildings and urban spaces, but there is little understanding about how they interact at personal, community and national levels. Recent econometric accounts of culture include architecture, forcing the issue of its place in cultural policy. This project aims to study architecture as a matter of culture that overcomes the gaps between concepts and administrative categories. Its goal is to inform better policy formation, increased public engagement with architecture, and growth in the creative economy.

    PhD topics within this wider project include: architecture in public interest broadcasting; architecture in school curricula; non-professional architectural and building culture on the WWW; architecture and cultural citizenship; architecture and liberalism.

  • 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.

  • 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.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Featured Publications

Book

Book Chapter

  • Macarthur, John (2020). Ugliness, the anti-aesthetic and appropriation with some remarks on the architecture of ARM. Architecture and ugliness: anti-aesthetics and the ugly in postmodern architecture. (pp. 19-38) edited by Wouter van Acker and Thomas Mical. London, United Kingdom: Bloomsbury.

  • Macarthur, John (2019). 'In the service of clouds': the picturesque and aquatint. Architecture through drawing. (pp. 168-177) edited by Desley Luscombe, Helen Thomas and Niall Hobhouse. London, United Kingdom: Lund Humphries.

  • Macarthur, John (2019). Pardo’s plumbing: relational art and architectural pavilions. Trading between architecture and art: strategies and practices of exchange. (pp. 27-38) edited by Wouter Davidts, Ashley Paine and Susan Holden. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Valiz.

  • Baracco, Mauro, Macarthur, John and Micheli, Silvia (2018). Between La Tendenza and neoliberty: Mauro Baracco goes to Australia. Italy/Australia: Postmodernism in Translation. (pp. 180-193) edited by Silvia Micheli and John Macarthur. Melbourne: Uro.

  • McDougall, Ian, Macarthur, John and Micheli, Silvia (2018). Culture mining: Ian McDougall in conversation with John Macarthur and Silvia Micheli. Italy/Australia: postmodern architecture in translation. (pp. 164-171) edited by Silvia Micheli and John Macarthur. Melbourne, VIC, Australia: Uro.

  • Macarthur, John (2018). The banality of 240cm. House tour: views of the unfurnished interior. (pp. 112-115) edited by Adam Jasper. Zürich, Switzerland: Park Books and Pro Helvetia.

  • Micheli, Silvia and Macarthur, John (2018). Thinking Italian in postmodern Australia. Italy/Australia: postmodern architecture in translation. (pp. 6-10) edited by Silvia Micheli and John Macarthur. Melbourne, VIC, Australia: Uro.

  • Addison, Rex, Micheli, Silvia and Macarthur, John (2018). Thinking about Gino Valle and a few others in my small pool: Rex Addison in conversation with Silvia Micheli and John Macarthur. Italy/Australia: postmodern architecture in translation. (pp. 172-179) edited by Silvia Micheli and John Macarthur. Melbourne, VIC, Australia: Uro Publications.

  • Hartoonian, Gevork, Macarthur, John and Walker, Paul (2018). We all loved Tafuri! A conversation between Gevork Hartoonian, John Macarthur and Paul Walker. Italy/Australia: postmodern architecture in translation. (pp. 208-217) edited by Silvia Micheli and John Macarthur. Melbourne, VIC, Australia: Uro.

  • 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. Images of the art museum: connecting gaze and discourse in the history of museology. (pp. 261-286) edited by Eva-Maria Troelenberg and Melania Savino. Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter.

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

  • Aitchison, Mathew and Macarthur, John (2017). Prefabricated housing in architectural culture. Offsite: constructing a post-industrial future. (pp. 77-89) edited by Ryan E. Smith and John D. Quale. Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315743332

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

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

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

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

  • Macarthur, John (2015). Letters to the people. Mongrel Rapture: The Architecture of Ashton Raggatt McDougall. (pp. 1345-1352) edited by Mark Raggatt and Maitiu Ward. 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. Out of Place (Gwalia): Occasional essays on Australian regional communities and built environments in transition. (pp. 129-158) edited by Philip Goldswain, Nicole Sully and William M. Taylor. Perth, WA, Australia: University of Western Australia Press.

  • Macarthur, John (2014). Of character and concrete: the historian's material. Forty ways to think about architecture: architectural history and theory today. (pp. 150-154) edited by Ian Borden, Murray Fraser and Barbara Penner. Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley. doi: 10.1002/9781118822531.ch21

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

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

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

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

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

  • Macarthur, John (2012). Keniger, Michael. The encyclopedia of Australian architecture. (pp. 381-381) edited by Philip Goad and Julie Willis. 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. Vues aériennes: seize etudes pour une histoire culturelle. (pp. 149-166) edited by Mark Dorrian and Frederic Pousin. Geneva, Switzerland: MetisPresses.

  • Hawker, Rosemary and Macarthur, John P. (2012). Louise Forthun: love story. NEWv2: selected recent acquisitions 2009–2011. (pp. 53-54) edited by Michele Helmrich and Ian Were. St Lucia, Qld., Australia: The University of Queensland Art Museum.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Macarthur, John P. (2008). Peter Hennessey: Will therapy be enough?. New: Selected recent acquisitions, 2007-2008. (pp. 110-111) edited by Michele Helmrich. 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. South Pacific museums: Experiments in culture. (pp. 20-32) edited by Chris Healy and Andrea Witcomb. Melbourne; Sydney, Australia: Monash E-Press. doi: 10.2104/spm06019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Edited Outputs

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • 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 is absent from national cultural policy in Australia despite being a significant part of the cultural economy and the way that civic identity is formed. Taste, civic norms and the economy come together in buildings and urban spaces, but there is little understanding about how they interact at personal, community and national levels. Recent econometric accounts of culture include architecture, forcing the issue of its place in cultural policy. This project aims to study architecture as a matter of culture that overcomes the gaps between concepts and administrative categories. Its goal is to inform better policy formation, increased public engagement with architecture, and growth in the creative economy.

    PhD topics within this wider project include: architecture in public interest broadcasting; architecture in school curricula; non-professional architectural and building culture on the WWW; architecture and cultural citizenship; architecture and liberalism.

  • 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.

  • 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.