Dr Urs Bette

Dr Urs Bette
 Position Senior Lecturer
 Org Unit School of Architecture & Built Environment
 Email urs.bette@adelaide.edu.au
 Telephone +61 8 8313 4590
 Location Floor/Room 4 71 ,  Horace Lamb ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Urs Bette is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Adelaide and Director of Urs Bette : Design. He holds a Masters degree in Architecture from the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, and a PhD from RMIT University Melbourne. His design works have been shown at the Architectural Biennale Venice, the AEDES Architecture Gallery Berlin and the FRAC Centre Orléans. His research investigates the role of ‘the unreasonable’ in the design process, revealing strategies that facilitate the poetics of architecture within a professional discourse dominated by expectations of quantifiable performance. The context of this research is set by the relationship between existing urban fabrics and a secondary layer of architectural form. The work contributes to the discourse on sustainable models of urban growth, by developing strategies for urban densification that tap into local histories and voices, including those of the seemingly inanimate - the architecture itself and the ground it sits up-on - to inform the site-related production of architectural character and space. Urs leads practice-based research at the School of Architecture and Built Environment.


  • Qualifications

     PhD, RMIT Unviversity, Melbourne

    Mag. Arch., Architecture, die Angewandte - University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria

    Dipl. Des., Communication Design, University of Applied Sciences, Duesseldorf, Germany

    Registered Architect in NRW, Germany

  • Teaching Interests

    I have a scholarly approach to teaching that is determined by my research into which types of environments foster the emergence of new ideas and solutions. My teaching is driven by discovery, approached through integration and informed by application. It is closely tied to all aspects of my work and extended activity. Students are not considered mute clients under instruction, but active participants contributing their own knowledge and inspiration. The studios introduce a performative approach to architectural design, in which experimental, intellectual and technical practices are developed in a series of perpetual transformations that lead to a real-life project scenario, its resolution and presentation.The approach could quite simply be described as engagement through exploration, doing & making, pursuing the idea of the architect as innovator and inventor. Education becomes more of a performative act; ideas and strategies are developed by the student, not given by the lecturer, favouring the development of creative problem-solving techniques over the delivery of already existing content. Essentially, I am enabling students to establish individual research strategies within a meaningful architectural education that they feel inspired to engage with.



  • Research Interests

    My research embraces the idea of Architectural Design as a key research activity, and presents my investigations into the epistemological processes that steer my creative practice. Themes discussed include the emergence of space from a staged opposition between the architectural object and the site, and the relationship between emotive cognition and analytic synthesis in the design act. The work offers encouragement to accept the usefulness and validity of the ‘unreasonable’ in architecture - demonstrating how a specific artistic context of discovery, based on emotional intelligence and experimentation, can be linked with a rational and consensus-based approach of justification. A further line of inquiry contributes to the discourse on sustainable models of urban growth, discussing strategies for densification that tap into local histories and voices (including those of the seemingly inanimate - the architecture itself and the ground it sits upon) to inform the site-related production of architectural character and space.

    Parts of my research revolve around the question which types of environments foster the emergence of ideas. I believe that innovations develop within the overlapping and hybridising. A key condition of my creative practice is to be ‘in-between’. Being in-between is a position that can be considered ‘unreasonable’ if viewed from the vantage-point of a defined body of knowledge. Being reasonable only gets us to where we already are. Unreasonableness can be found in the way that I allow intuitive synthesis and emotive cognition to guide the direction of a projects, how I co-opt features from fields unrelated to architecture, or empathise with objects and the site. Being un-reasonable also means to position oneself ‘between’ established areas of expertise. The iterative switch between the poles promotes a state of deliberate un-assuredness that allows the designer to circumvent the mandatory restrictions set up by professionalization. Being ‘between’ helps in making connections across the borders of disciplines and connect seemingly unrelated items in order to create new knowledge.



  • Publications

    creative works published in:

    Bette, Urs I. “Libro”, “House in Tokyo.” In Studio Prix 
    University of Applied Arts 1990-2011, edited by C Bollinger. 
    Basel: Birkhäuser, 2016.

    Bette, Urs. "Unreasonable Creatures | in dialogue with an activated ground." 
    PhD diss., RMIT University, 2015.

    Bette, Urs, Irene OttReinisch, and Franz Sam. “Thalia NEU.” 
    architektur aktuell 411 (June 2014): Vienna

    Bette, Urs, Irene Ott-Reinisch, and Franz Sam. "Thalia Neu."
    Architektur Steiermark (Graz), October 2013.
    Bette, Urs. “Uralla Court.” In Contemporary architects 1
    edited by A. Vidiella and S. Lechuguette, Barcelona: Loft Publ., 2012.

    Bette, U., "AEAF Artist in Residence Studio"
    Design South Australia, The Integrated Design Commission, 
    Wakefield Press, Adelaide, 2012

    Bette, U., "Expo & UC"
    Julio Fajardo, Starchitects: Visionary Architects of the 21.Century,
    HarperCollins, New York, USA, 2010

    Bette, U., "Uralla Court II"
    Jonathan Bell,  Architects Directory 2008,
    Wallpaper* London, 2008

    Bette, U., "Uralla Court  I"
    Wolf D.Prix, Stadt=Form Raum Netz, 10th International Architecture Exhibition,
    La Biennale di Venezia, Springer, Wien - New York, Austria, 2006

    Bette, U., "UC I & UC II"
    T. Kramer, Wolf D.Prix, (eds), Rock over Barock,
    Springer, Wien, Austria, 2005

    Bette, U., "Uralla Court"
    Reiner Zettl, Prinz Eisenbeton 08,
    University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria, 2005

    Bette, U., "Der Drache im Meer"
    Angelika Fitz, Klaus Stattmann (eds), Reserve der Form,
    Revolver - Archive fuer aktuelle Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany, 2004

    Bette, U., "The dragon in the sea"
    R.Burgstaller, Roland Schoeny (eds), Moving Out,
    University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria, 2001

    Bette, U., "The dragon in the sea"
    Marie-Ange Brayer, Beatrice Simonot (eds), 12 ecoles d'architecture en Europe,
    Edition HYX, Orleans, France, 2001

    Bette, U., "Der Drache im Meer"
    Arch+  Zeitschrift fuer Architektur und Staedtebau, Arch+ Preis,
    Arch+ Verlag, Berlin, Germany, 2001

    creative work exhibited at:

    Bette U, "Tindaya whale."
    GRIT, curated by T. Kearny,  
    Adelaide Fringe Festival, Harts Mill, Port Adelaide, 2016

    Bette U, "Thalia Graz."
    Spaceland, curated by A. Coupe,
    Office for Design and Architecture, Adelaide, 2016

    Bette U, "Dissecting the whale." In
    Practice Research Symposium
    RMIT Design Hub, Melbourne, 2014

    Bette, U., "dissection"
    Spinoza's Cabinet, Bruenner, M.,
    Adelaide, 2012

    Bette, U., Bruenner, M., "unreasonable topographies"  
    To The Islands, Harvey, J., Pickersgill, S.,
    SASA GALLERY, Adelaide, 2011

    Bette, U., "Uralla Court  I"
    Stadt=Form Raum Netz, Austria at the 10th International Architecture Exhibition,
    La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy 2006

    Bette, U., "Uralla Court  I"
    Rock over Barock, Galerie Aedes East,
    Berlin, Germany 2005

    Bette, U., "Der Drache im Meer"
    Reserve der Form, Kuenstlerhaus Wien,
    Vienna, Austria 2004

    Bette, U., "'Uralla Court I"  
    Jung & Schön: 7+2, Kunsthaus Muerzzuschlag,
    Muerzzuschlag, Austria  2004

    Bette, U., "The dragon in the sea"
    Moving Out, University for Applied Arts,
    Museum of Modern Art - Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria 2001

    Bette, U., "The dragon in the sea"
    12 ecoles d'architecture en Europe, FRAC Centre,
    Orleans, France 2001



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Entry last updated: Wednesday, 12 Jun 2019

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