This page contains materials developed to enhance teaching as well as research papers, published articles and critiques on methods of teaching. These primarily cover the teaching of architecture, building construction techniques and related topics.

In most cases the content is drawn from materials developed by Ross Thorne while working as a lecturer at the University of Sydney.




Architects’ education:
Can a mode of practice in the design professions be transferred to universities to become a teaching method? The case of the practice model (in teaching architecture).

Ross Thorne and Terry Purcell, 11 pages

Paper presented at (and published in the proceedings of) the Higher Education Research Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA), 1994 (Volume 17).

Architectural practitioners, for many years, pressured schools of architecture to teach in a quasi professional practice mode rather than in an educational mode.

They would talk of “real”projects and “real” sites for and on which to design, without providing educational objectives as to what those projects were meant to teach the student (other than some vague notion of design). The paper provides a critical review of this rather spurious method.

File size 926KB


Art Deco Style: Will the Real (Australian) Art Deco Please Stand Up?

Ross Thorne, 28 pages, illustrated

Originally published on this site (, 2013.

The term “Art Deco” must be one of the most misused phrases in both design and architectural literature, and the media of radio, television and print.

It is incorrectly used as an omnibus term for everything designed in the 1920s and 1930s, whereas it really only describes, though its title, one of a number of styles of design for the interwar period.

The article attempts to define first, what a style is, how some authors have confused the issue, and what comprises a strict Art Deco style.

This article also appeas under Human Factors in Design - Other Articles and Reports.

File size 11.1MB


Does the employment of professional practitioners as teachers produce an educational paradox?

Ross Thorne, 5 pages, illustrated

Originally published in Architecture Australia, 74, 4, 1985, pp.48-51.

The education of architects may not produce suitable candidates for appointment as professors of architecture. It is pointed out that this education has been intellectually deficient in the suitability to conform to University requirements for the work of professors of architecture and most architect-lecturers.

File size 4.5MB


Memories of an Acoustic Consultant, 1961 to 1990.

Ross Thorne, 16 pages, illustrated

Previously unpublished

This memoir describes an interest in acoustics from my final year in architecture, starting acoustic consulting in 1961, and my working with the pre-eminent acoustic consultant, H. Vivian Taylor (Melbourne), and psychologist, John Metcalfe, for the design of recording studios. Most work otherwise was commissioned by Joseland & Gilling.

File size 832 KB