History and theory

Critical examination of how and why we create buildings, cities, and landscapes in complex cultural settings.

Research streams

  • History, Theory and Representation
  • Invisible Architectures

Academic staff

Name Research interests

Michael Dudding

  • Oral history methodology
  • New Zealand architectural history (twentieth century), architectural heritage and architectural photography.

Nigel Isaacs

  • Documenting and contextualising the history of building technologies
  • Use and reuse of historic and heritage buildings
  • Understanding the how’s, why’s, where’s and when’s of energy and water use in residential and non-residential buildings.

Joanna Merwood-Salisbury

  • Nineteenth and early-twentieth-century architecture and urban design, with a special interest in United States history and issues of race and labour
  • The history and theory of interior architecture and design
  • History and theory of public space
  • Architecture and social justice

Christine McCarthy

  • Contemporary and historical prison design, including prison conditions, humanity and political context
  • Youth justice facilities
  • Women's prisons

Robin Skinner

  • Nineteenth and early-twentieth-century architecture of New Zealand and the British world, with a special interest in issues of postcoloniality in architecture.

Jan Smitheram

  • Relationship between performance, performativity and affect within the context of architecture
  • Architectural practice through the lens of performativity and affect.

Peter Wood

  • Geometric principles active in the design methodologies of the early modernist architects.

Study options

The following postgraduate programmes allow you to pursue this research:

Master of Architecture (MArch)

Explore the theoretical side of architecture and dive deeper into its history and theory. Develop your analysis and critical thinking skills with in-depth study into your area of interest.

In this thesis-based programme, you can build on the knowledge you gained at undergraduate level. Or, if you’re already working in the industry, you can expand your knowledge through research.

Find out more about the Master of Architecture (MArch)

Master of Architecture (Professional) (MArch[Prof])

Prepare to work as a professional architect. Hone your skills as a designer, develop your ability to think visually and in three dimensions, and learn how to best meet your clients’ needs through practical, real-life experiences.

Graduates with a Bachelor of Architectural Studies in Architecture and a Master of Architecture (Professional) will have met the academic requirements to register as a professional architect.

Find out more about the Master of Architecture (Professional) (MArch[Prof])

Master of Interior Architecture (MIA)

Become a specialist in the architectural design of interior spaces. Examine the relationships between materials, people, and space. Make a difference to people’s wellbeing through the innovative design of interior spaces.

Our MIA is internationally recognised through two professional bodies.

Find out more about the Master of Interior Architecture (MIA)

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)

Develop your creative expertise and become a professional landscape architect. Gain the knowledge and skills to create innovative design solutions for outdoor spaces.

Our MLA is one of only three programmes in New Zealand that meet the standards for accreditation with the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (NZILA).

Find out more about Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


On our PhD programme, you'll produce an original body of research that expands the discipline. Your work will be largely independently driven, with two supervisors available to advise you. Typically the PhD is studied on-site, but in suitable cases it may be studied by distance.

Find out more about the PhD.