In recent years the manipulation of light, sound, form and materiality within the practice of architectural and interior design has undergone radical changes. These developments have emerged in line with technical innovations in computer modelling, lighting technologies, multimedia systems, audio equipment, manufacturing techniques and material science.

With the rapid changes in the nature of contemporary spatial design practice, and the media used in its shaping, it has become apparent that there is much to be gained from an examination of the base assumptions which a designer brings toward the physical environment. As the technologies used to both model and create spatial effects develop and evolve, it seems that spatial design thinking must similarly evolve.

As a designer and design educator my practice involves a constant questioning of the basis of creative thought and the ways that ideas can be manifest into reality. Such a practice involves a continuous expansion of the perceptual and cognitive tools that are brought to the manipulation of objects and spatial phenomena.

Over the last decade, my activities as a designer and lecturer have involved the development of a theoretical and perceptive base to design, which eschews the conception of materiality and physical form as the central concern in the fashioning of objects and spaces, and embraces the comprehension of the physical fields that shape sensorial experience as its primary concern.

In this process the conceptual base for design is envisaged as the harnessing of fields of energy rather than the shaping of inert matter. Addressing the foundations of the design process in such a way has exposed a creative methodology in which the consideration and manipulation of the material and immaterial aspects of the physical world transcend the traditional boundaries that lie between the distinction of matter and phenomena.

The core of the project engaged with the manipulation of light, sound, form and materiality as four separate yet interrelated areas of investigation. Each investigation was founded on an appreciation of the phenomena being manipulated and involved the development of design briefs and conceptual scenarios in which techniques for the manifestation of physical effects, sensorial affects and expressive properties were tested.

In the adoption of such a research methodology the aim was not to seek definitive answers or proofs or to construct an argument for the application of such techniques, rather the aim was to broaden the perceptive base from which approaches to design evolve and to develop a body of work and knowledge that ultimately begins to reference itself in the generation of design responses.

Through the development of works around the specific investigations of generative processes and innovative use of media the projects intention was to define the scope of an ongoing design oeuvre. The work that was generated in developing these sensibilities was considered as a continuous spectrum of creative practice which traversed the nexus between art and design and lead to the development of new and hybrid forms of expression.


Click on the links below to view chapters of the doctorate.


Between Field and Form

A Phenomenology of Light

Archetypes of Sound

The Gravity of Form

Transient Materiality

Shaping Spatial Experience


Below is a recording of the PhD examination:



RMIT University School of Architecture and Design 2012