Dr Katharine Bartsch

Senior Lecturer
Dr Katharine Bartsch
  Org Unit School of Architecture & Built Environment
  Email katharine.bartsch@adelaide.edu.au
  Telephone +61 8 8313 2305
  Location Floor/Room 4 ,  Barr Smith South ,   North Terrace

Katharine Bartsch has been involved in learning and teaching in this School since 1997. Her research examines how human mobility shapes the built environment, specifically Islamic architecture. Islam is a global faith and it has never existed in a vacuum. The emergence and diffusion of Islam can be traced along routes of migration, pilgrimage, trade, or travel in pursuit of knowledge. Given this context of mobility and the cultural encounters that it engenders, the goal of Katharine’s research is to interpret the complexity and diversity of Muslim communities that is materialised in the built environment. Thus, her research is interdisciplinary, reaching beyond conventional discourses of architecture, to obtain rich insights from anthropology, cultural geography, world systems theories, postcolonial theory, and the history of travel. This approach enables a critical understanding of the production and transformation of the predominantly hybrid architecture of Muslim communities. Thus, Katharine’s research offers a compelling counter-narrative to pervasive misconceptions about architecture and Islam.

Katharine’s PhD is titled Rethinking Islamic Architecture: A Critique of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture through the Paradigm of Encounter (awarded 2005). This dissertation was partly enabled by a productive period of study abroad at the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, based at MIT and Harvard University, and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Geneva.

Katharine has worked in collaborative design offices in Adelaide and India and she has travelled extensively. Combined, these experiences shape the global perspective that Katharine brings to her teaching and research activities.


Bachelor of Architectural Studies, University of Adelaide

(with a major in Italian Language and Culture, Flinders University)


Bachelor of Architecture, Honours, University of Adelaide


PhD (specialisation in Islamic Architecture), University of Adelaide

History and Theory of Architecture


History and Theory of Landscape Architecture


In October 2007 Dr Katharine Bartsch conceived and coordinated the annual offshore design studio in Rome, Italy. This studio was delivered in collaboration with senior staff from the First Faculty of Architecture, Ludovico Quaroni, La Sapienza, Universita di Roma. Katharine accompanied 20 students from the University of Adelaide who collaborated with students from Ludovico Quaroni to prepare concept designs for a Museum of Migration. This design project encouraged the students to explore important historical and theoretical themes, including museology, migration, Italian-Australian cross-cultural relations, memory, identity, multi-culturalism, cultural representation and cultural difference.

Architecture and Islam in Australia


Architecture and Gardens in the Islamic World


Travel (eg. migration, diaspora, pilgrimage or cross-cultural encounters) and the way these activities can shape the built environment.


Postgraduate Supervision (PhD Students)


Katharine Bartsch supervises the following students:


Dr Namrata Vishwasrao

Sustainable Water Management in Semi-Arid India:

Learning from the Gond and Kohli Indigenous Communities, Awarded 2011


Janelle Arbon

The Invisible Privatisation of Civic Space


Marwa El-Ashmouni

The Rationale of Architecture Discourses in Post-Independence Egypt:

Contrapuntal Reading of Alam Al-Benaa (1980-2000)


Georgina Hafteh

The Unique Garden Culture of Damascus (1600-1800), Completed 2012


Elise Kamleh

Eurasian Architectural Exchange in the Eighteenth Century.

A Study of Three Gateway Cities: Istanbul, Lucknow and Aleppo, Completed 2012 


Mansoor Ma

Light, Colour and Views: Interpreting the Visual Trajectory from the Alhambra's Mirador de Lindaraja during Sultan Mohammad V's Second Reign


Nirodha Dissanayake

Mahaweli Architectural Unit, Sri Lanka (1983-1989)

Isidoro Malaque III

Towards a Multi-Step Approach in the Resettlement of Urban Poor: The Case of Davao City, Philippines 




Major Grants

Australia Research Council Linkage Grant 2013-2016

The Architecture of Australia's Muslim Pioneers

with Chief Investigators Peter Scriver and Research Associate Mizanur Rashid

and Partner Institutions South Australian Museum and International Islamic University, Malaysia

Loo, Stephen, and Katharine Bartsch (eds). 2007. Panorama to Paradise: Scopic Regimes in Architectural and Urban History and Theory: Proceedings of the 24th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand [SAHANZ], [Available CD-Rom] Adelaide: 2007.

Refereed Journal Articles

Bartsch, K. 2015. “Building Identity in the Colonial City: The Case of the Adelaide Mosque.” Journal of Contemporary Islam: Dynamics of Muslim Life. DOI 10.1007/s11562-015-0345-z

Bartsch, K & E. Kamleh. 2014. "Karbala in Lucknow: An Itinerary of Architectural Mobility.” International Journal of Islamic Architecture 3 (2): 267-302. DOI: 10.1386/ijia.3.2.267_1

M. El-Ashmouni & K. Bartsch. 2014. “Egypt’s Age of Transition: Unintentional Cosmopolitanism during the Reign of Muhammad ‘Ali (1805-1848).” Arab Studies Quarterly 36 (1): 43-74. DOI 10.13169/arabstudquar.36.1.0043

Rashid, M. & K. Bartsch. 2014. “Architecture of the Adelaide Mosque: Hybridity, Resilience and Assimilation.” Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review 25 (2): 65-75.


Refereed Conference Papers (published in full)

Malaque, I, Bartsch, K. & Scriver, P. 2015. “Learning from informal settlements: provision and incremental construction of housing for the urban poor in Davao City, Philippines.” In Living and Learning: Research for a Better Built Environment, 49th International Conference of Architectural Science Association, edited by R.H. Crawford and A. Stephan (abstract accepted).

Malaque, I, Bartsch, K. & Scriver, P. 2014. “Typology of urban households and their transition from informal to formal status.” In Proceedings of the 40th IAHS World Congress on Housing: sustainable housing construction, edited by A. Tadeu, O. Ural, D. Ural and V. Abrantes, Funchal, Portugal.

Bartsch, Katharine with Mizanur Rashid (principal author). 2012. "Hybrid Histories: A Framework to Rethink 'Islamic' Architecture." Fabulation: Myth, Nature, Heritage: 29th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand [SAHANZ], Launceston, forthcoming.

Bartsch, Katharine with Marwa El-Ashmouni (principal author). 2012. "Influence and Resistance: The Rationale of the al-'Imarah Discourse (1939-59)." Fabulation: Myth, Nature, Heritage: 29th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand [SAHANZ], Launceston, forthcoming.

Bartsch, Katharine. 2010. "Re-orienting design pedagogy: preparing tertiary students for professional architectural practice in an increasingly globalising world." In Morrell, Elizabeth, and Michael D. Barr (eds). Crises and Opportunities: Proceedings of the 18th Biennial Conference of the ASAA, 2010, Adelaide, Australia. Canberra: Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) Inc and the University of Adelaide. ISBN 978-0-7258-1136-5. http://www.adelaide.edu.au/asaa2010/reviewed_papers/

Bartsch, Katharine, 2009. "Roots or Routes? Exploring a New Paradigm for Architectural Historiography through the work of Geoffrey Bawa." In Jilly Traganou and Miodrag Mitrašinovic╠ü (eds.), Travel Space Architecture, 167-188. Farnham, Surrey, UK: Ashgate.

Bartsch, Katharine and Selen Morkoç, 'Interpreting the Architectural Visibility of Islam: Mosques in South Australia.' In: Loo, Stephen, and Katharine Bartsch (eds). 2007. Panorama to Paradise: Scopic Regimes in Architectural and Urban History and Theory: 24th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand [SAHANZ], [Available CD-Rom] Adelaide: 2007.

Bartsch, Katharine and Selen Morkoc, "Contested Terrain or Contact Zone? The Case of the Adelaide Mosque," in Terrance McMinn, John Stephens and Steve Basson (eds), Contested Terrains, Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, 25-31 (Fremantle, Western Australia: SAHANZ, 2006).

Bartsch, Katharine and Gavin Malone (Visual Artist), ‘Why are we being Taught by a Naked Artist? Exposing Students to Place Through Multi-Disciplinary Design Education', in Kathi Holt-Damant and Paul Sanders (eds), Drawing Together: Convergent Practises in Architectural Education, Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference of the Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia (AASA), 1-12 (Brisbane, Australia: AASA with University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology, 2005).

Professional Publications
Bartsch, Katharine, The Enigma of Cultural Representation in Design Practice, PLACE. Architecture+Design+Placemaking (South Australia), 2, no. 2 (Oct 2006): 38-39.

Bartsch, Katharine, Cult of the Fountainhead and the Culture of our Architectural Community, PLACE. Architecture+Design+Placemaking (South Australia) 2, no. 1 (Jul/Aug 2006): 13-15.

Bartsch, Katharine, Tectvs Realise a Corbusian Vision on the Park, PLACE. Architecture+Design+Placemaking (South Australia) 1, no. 6 (Feb/Mar 2006): 14-16.


As part of her ongoing research on Islam in South Australia, Dr Katharine Bartsch met with representatives of the Muslim community in South Australia to better understand the diversity of this community, disparate experiences in Australia and the construction of local mosques. To date, Katharine has conducted interviews with leading figures in this community, not only in Adelaide, but also in Renmark, Murray Bridge and Whyalla.

Australian Institute of Architects, Academic Affiliate Member


Australian Institute of Architects, Education Committee, University of Adelaide Representative


Chair of the German Heritage Research Group Annual Meeting 2010 and 2012.


Co-convenor. Women with a Plan: Challenges and Opportunities, 15th May, 2012. An event to celebrate the achievements of women in the built environment professions. This event was organised in collaboration with SLSA, AIA, AILA, PIA, IDC, Architecture Museum, University of South Australia and School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, University of Adelaide. A record of this event is held at the State Library of South Australia. For more information refer to The Plan http://www.theplan.net.au/?p=2204


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Entry last updated: Thursday, 24 Mar 2016

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