Architecture Museum

About the Architecture Museum

The Architecture Museum is a unique repository of architects’ and allied professionals’ records and a dynamic hub of research into South Australia’s architectural and built environment history.

The Architecture Museum is located in the Kaurna (K) Building at the City West Campus of the University of South Australia in Adelaide, South Australia. Link to campus map.

Link to Map of Adelaide, South Australia

The Architecture Museum @unisa.architecturemuseum posts regularly on Instagram where you can see a selection of our collection items

Front of Architecture Museum

Architecture Museum, Kaurna Building, photographer Sam Noonan 2012


Latest News and Events

Liturgy, community, modernity exhibition Flyer

Liturgy, community, modernity: Postwar places of worship in South Australia 1945 - 1990

2  - 31 October 2019, Kaurna Building level 3

In the decades after World War Two South Australia experienced a significant population boom as a result of immigration and an increase in the birth rate. During this period, various religious organisations played a role in suburban and rural development alongside and in collaboration with government and private developers.

It was also in the Postwar period that many religions implemented substantial change or modernised to become more inclusive and relevant to their congregations. This changed the way they connected with their community, practiced their faith and created a sense of place. Fundamental to these modernisation aims was their expression in built form. In some instances interdisciplinary design collaborations between architects, artists and other professionals resulted in the holistic design of space including structure, interiors and landscapes.

The research will focus on Places of Worship constructed between 1946-c.1990 and built in both metropolitan Adelaide and country South Australia by different religions, faiths and denominations.

This research is funded by the Government of South Australia, Department for Environment and Water.

Researchers: Mr Chris Burns and Assoc Prof Christine Garnaut

 Modernism and Modernist SA Exhibition


Spanning over 40 years, this selection of over 80 projects by South Australian architects ushered in modernism to South Australia from the early 1930s. This exhibition has drawn upon archival materials from the Architecture Museum as well as the expertise of local architects, historians and photographers to highlight a selection of notable, and some less well-known, examples of the promise of modernist thinking in the built environment. Under the design direction of architects such as McConnell, Cheesman, Hassell, Dickson, Platten and Neighbour, the face of our cities was transformed as modernism explored new materials, technology, forms and spatial arrangements.


Exhibition 1-22 November 2019, 9am-5pm Mon-Fri

ODASA, 28 Leigh St, Adelaide

Curated by Dr Julie Collins, Architecture Museum,

University of South Australia and Phillips Pilkington Architects


Exhibition opening 6pm onwards 1 November 2019

to be opened by Keith Conlon, Chair SA Heritage Council


Panel discussion 4.30-6pm, 1 November 2019

A panel discussion presented by the Australian Institute of Architects, and hosted by Stuart Symons of Modernist Adelaide. The panel guests include Dr Julie Collins (Architecture Museum, University of South Australia), Rob Cheesman (Cheesman Architects), Lu Balsamo (formerly of HASSELL) and Adrian Evans (JPE Design Studio).

Attendance at the panel event grants you entry to the exhibition opening drinks from 6pm at ODASA.

Limited numbers so RSVP is a must.

Panel Tickets at Eventbrite



Archiving Digital Architectural Records: Towards a National Framework

One of the current research projects being undertaken by the Architecture Museum aims to develop a framework for archiving born digital architectural records. The key challenges associated with archiving these records include: (1) establishing the rationale for collecting records produced in a digital environment; (2) which records to archive and (3) how to archive them; and (4) how to achieve digital continuity in rapidly evolving and changing electronic environments.

This research is funded by NATSPEC, a national not-for-profit organisation whose objective is to improve the construction quality and productivity of the built environment through leadership of information.

Research team: Mr Chris Burns, Assoc Prof Christine Garnaut, Dr Julie Collins

A link to the preliminary research findings report is available on the Project page HERE.


 Follow @unisa.architecturemuseum on Instagram

Our Focus

The Architecture Museum is a facility for the acquisition, preservation and management of architectural and related records produced by private practitioners based in South Australia. It aims to:

  • promote scholarly enquiry into South Australia’s built environment history
  • secure funding to conduct research projects based on its collections
  • publish research outcomes from Museum-centred projects
  • arrange public exhibitions of its holdings.

> View Projects including selected digitised Architecture Museum monographs, catalogues and books
> View Publications

Using the Museum collections

The Architecture Museum is an invaluable resource for researchers, students and practitioners from a range of disciplines, architects, planners, engineers, heritage consultants, historians and all those interested in the state’s built history and heritage.

Our research collection comprises more than 200,000 items including architectural drawings, correspondence, photographs and architects’ personal papers as well as a library of books, research reports, journals and trade literature. These items have been donated by architects working in private practice in South Australia during the 20th century, particularly in the period circa 1910 to 1980.

The Architecture Museum is housed in a purpose-built facility in the Kaurna Building at the City West campus of the University of South Australia.  It is open by appointment Monday to Wednesday 10am-4pm. Please contact us with enquiries about the collection and/or to arrange an appointment.

Our History

In the 1970s, in the absence of a repository in South Australia for retired private architectural practitioners to deposit their records, architectural historian Donald Leslie Johnson began collecting their archives. In 1990 he donated the collection to the School of the Built Environment at the South Australian Institute of Technology, a predecessor institution of the University of South Australia. This collection of architectural drawings, ephemera and books was renamed the Architecture Museum in 2005.


The Architecture Museum is located in the School of Art, Architecture and Design and is managed by academic staff. It has an Advisory Group comprising members external to the University of South Australia and key internal personnel. The Museum is a member of the International Confederation of Architecture Museums (ICAM).

Higher Degree by Research opportunities at the Architecture Museum

The Architecture Museum offers a diverse and rich array of sources for Higher Degree by Research (both PhD and Masters) projects in fields including: architecture, planning, built environment history and theory, interior architecture, visual art and design, social and cultural history. Architecture Museum staff are supervisors for higher degrees by research. See some of our current and past students' topics on our Projects page.

> Find out more about Higher Degrees by Research

Our People

Dr Julie Collins, Collections Manager
Phone:  8302 9235

Dr Christine Garnaut, Museum Director
Phone:  8302 0204

Ms Catherine Esser, Curatorial Assistant
Phone:  8302 9235

Dr Louise Bird, Research Assistant

Mr Chris Burns, Research Assistant

Email Us

Search collection & catalogue

Search Collection & Catalogue

The Architecture Museum holds more than 200,000 items, including approximately 20,000 drawings and a 2,000-volume library. The holdings relate to the work of privately practising architects and allied professionals.

Search Collection

Architects of SA

Architects of South Australia Database

Search this selection of South Australian architects biographies and works from 1836 to the present day. This database contains historical information on individuals, architectural practices, built works and lists of sources.

Search Database


Publications from our Research

Publications are the outcomes of Architecture Museum projects. Including books, articles, theses and reports they are available in the Architecture Museum and in some instances via the University of South Australia catalogue.

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Architecture Museum Current Project


The Architecture Museum undertakes projects which focus on the Museum's collections and are managed or undertaken by its staff and students of the University of South Australia.

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The Architecture Museum mounts changing exhibitions on architectural subjects both in its dedicated display case and in galleries throughout Adelaide and the metropolitan area.

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icam Australasia

icam Australasia is a regional network of the International Confederation of Architectural Museums (icam).


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