Architecture Museum

Architecture Museum

Reading Room

Discover more than 400,000 items including architectural drawings, correspondence, photographs and architects’ personal papers as well as a library of books, research reports, journals and trade literature.

Plan your visit

The University of South Australia's 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 a unique national entity with an established academic, professional and community profile. The Architecture Museum:

  • preserves and makes publicly available its collection of records of architects and associated professionals practicing privately in South Australia.
  • generates new knowledge about the history of architecture and the built environment locally, nationally, and internationally.
  • leads and fosters research into, and the promotion of, the history of architecture and the built environment through research projects, publications, and public events including exhibitions, lectures, and symposia.
  • creates and promotes public appreciation of the many dimensions of architecture and its allied disciplines.

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.

Housed in a purpose-built facility, our research collection is comprised of more than 400,000 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 twentieth century, particularly in the period circa 1910 to 1980.

Search collection and catalogue

Opening hours
Monday to Wednesday - 10.00am-12noon and 1.00pm-4.00pm (by appointment only)

Contact us to arrange an appointment

Rolled plans

Staff member in the architecture office of F. Kenneth Milne




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.

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The Architecture Museum generates new knowledge through staff and undergraduate and postgraduate research projects, publications and exhibitions. It produces an award winning monograph series and the scholarly online biographical database called ‘Architects of South Australia’. The Architecture Museum aims to publish research findings of Museum-based scholars who work in the areas of architectural and built environment history and pertaining particularly to South Australia, these include academic and professional journal articles, books and exhibitions. It encourages and supports staff of UniSA Creative and other UniSA academic units, Masters and PhD candidates and other academic and community-based scholars to use the Museum’s collections for individual and collaborative research projects and to publish in a variety of fora. Past projects range from a multi-authored book on the 1887 Adelaide Jubilee International Exhibition Building to research into the South Australian Home Builders Club 1945-65.

You can find a list of research publications from the Architecture Museum HERE.

Archiving Digital Architectural Records

One of the research projects undertaken by the Architecture Museum developed a framework for archiving born digital architectural records. The key challenges associated with archiving these records involves: establishing the rationale for collecting records produced in a digital environment, determining which records to archive and how to archive them, and understanding how to achieve digital continuity in rapidly evolving and changing electronic environments.

Learn more



architecture museum foyerArchitecture Museum, Kaurna Building, photographer Sam Noonan 2012

Department Store monograph

Online Merchandise

The Architecture Museum produces a colour monograph series of books on South Australian architectural history. These can be purchased online at PayUniSA for $20 plus postage if required. The most recent publication is on Department Store Architecture in South Australia, launched in May 2023 to coincide with an exhibition on the same topic.

Buy Monographs

Architecture museum collections displayed on a wall

UniSA Architecture Museum: These walls can talk

“Architecture is built on precedent,” says Dr Julie Collins, architectural historian, curator, and active researcher. “It involves looking back and seeing what has worked and what hasn’t and building on from those things that have served us well.”

Profile of UniSA Architecture Museum written by Bill Condie

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architecture students

Research degree opportunities

The Architecture Museum offers a diverse and rich array of sources for research degree (both PhD and Masters) projects in fields including: architecture, built environment history and theory, interior architecture, urban history, design, social and cultural history. Get in touch with UniSA Creative staff to discuss options for your research degree and how you can use the resources available in the Architecture Museum.

Contact us

Recent Past Events

'This is Modernism' Symposium, 16 February 2024, University of South Australia, City West, Adelaide

This 1-day symposium explored modernist architecture in Australia and New Zealand through case studies of buildings that demonstrate a specific relationship to place, looking at under-explored examples of modernism in our region. Presenters included leading scholars and experts in Australasian architectural history. Download the Abstracts booklet HERE (6.4MB PDF).

Co-presented by the Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia, University of South Australia, and Unitec (Auckland, NZ). Convenors: Dr Christoph Schnoor (Unitec) and Dr Julie Collins (UniSA).

Presentations by:

Dr Stuart King (University of Melbourne), Dr Catherine Howell (University of South Australia and Heritage SA),, Kerry Francis (Unitec Auckland), Prof Philip Goad (University of Melbourne), Dr James Curry (University of South Australia), Elsie Telford and Dr Akari Nakai Kidd (Deakin University), Rachel Jackson, Amy Jarvis, and Edwina Jans (Canberra Modern), Dr Amit Srivastava, Dr Aaron Humphrey, Steve Cook, Dr James Curry, and Benjamin Nicholls (University of Adelaide and University of South Australia), Prof Deborah Barnstone (University of Sydney), Dr Silvia Micheli, Assoc Prof Antony Moulis, and Virginia Rigney (University of Queensland and Canberra Museum and Gallery), Dr Isabel Rousset (University of Technology Sydney), Dr Lisa Marie Daunt (Phillips Smith Conwell Architects), Dr Ann Cleary (University of Canberra), Dr Daniel Ryan (University of Sydney), Chris Burns (Heritage SA), Dr Julie Collins (University of South Australia), Assoc Prof Christoph Schnoor and Sinead McClay (Unitec Auckland).

International Confederation of Architectural Museums (ICAM) Australasian Regional Meeting, 16-17 November 2023, University of South Australia, City West, Adelaide

The ICAM regional meeting included speakers from across Australia and New Zealand including Kevin Liu (Warren Mahoney and GSD Harvard), David Kennedy (Robert Bird Engineers and Engineering Heritage Australia), Sarah Cox (University of Auckland), Rachel Bell (Fletcher Trust), Antoinette Buchanan (ACT Heritage Library), Erin Kimber (Macmillan Brown Library), Ann Carew (RMIT Design Archives), Mary Lewis and Peter Johnson (State Library of Victoria), Chris Burns (Heritage South Australia), Bethany Pietsch (Lutheran Archives), Naomi Mullumby (University of Melbourne), Donald Watson (architectural historian, Queensland), Meher Bahl (Restore Conservation Services, Melbourne), and Cara Stewart and Sarah Rees (Powerhouse). Download the Program HERE.

The meeting was joined live from Scotland by Rebecca Bailey - President of the International Confederation of Architectural Museums for her lecture titled 'From Georgio Vasari to M+: a global tour of architectural collections and their missions to “purify taste, ignite imagination… and awake genius.”'

Our history

Over the past two decades the Architecture Museum has held an important role in South Australia's cultural landscape as a resource for research, teaching and learning, raising awareness of the history and culture not only of South Australian built heritage but also of architecture more broadly. It began in the 1970s, when, 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 University of South Australia. This collection of architectural drawings, ephemera and books began to be made publicly accessible in the late 1990s and was renamed the Architecture Museum in 2005 when it opened its doors in the Kaurna Building at the City West campus of the University of South Australia.

Our people

The Architecture Museum is open to the public Monday-Wednesday and is staffed by Curator, Dr Julie Collins, who manages the day-to-day operations of the Museum including collection management, exhibtion curation, and providing access to the reading room. Please contact Dr Julie Collins for any enquiries about using the Architecture Museum collections. Dr James Curry, as the Director of the Architecture Museum, oversees the overall direction, projects, and engagement functions of the Museum in conjunction with the Curatorial staff. 

Curatorial Assistants, Dr Susan Avey and Naomi Giles work with the Curator on tasks associated with accessioning of the collections as well as assisting with exhibitions. Adjunct academic staff members, Assoc. Prof. Christine Garnaut, Dr Susan Lustri, Dr Louise Bird, and Mr Tim Reeves are also associated with the Architecture Museum as  researchers and assist with the collection. All staff undertake research on and about the collection, specifically, architectural, planning, heritage, landscape and interior design histories.

The Architecture Museum has an Advisory Group comprised of members external to the University as well as key internal personnel. The Museum is a member of the International Confederation of Architecture Museums (ICAM).

Julie Collins
Research Fellow, UniSA Creative
K2-21, City West Campus
James Curry
Lecturer, UniSA Creative
City West Campus
Susan Avey
Academic Researcher, UniSA Creative
WL4-50, City West Campus
Christine Garnaut
Adjunct Associate Research Professor, UniSA Creative
K3-12, City West Campus
Louise Bird
Adjunct Research Fellow, UniSA Creative
Tim Reeves
Adjunct Research Fellow, UniSA Creative
Naomi Giles
Academic Researcher, UniSA Creative
Susan Lustri
Adjunct Research Fellow, UniSA Creative
City West Campus

Contact Us

Telephone: 08 8302 9235
Opening hours: Monday to Wednesday - 10.00 am-4.00 pm (by appointment only)

Where to find us

Building K - Level 2
University of South Australia's
City West Campus
2 Fenn Place
South Australia 5000

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Architecture Museum, Kaurna Building, UniSA City West campus, Adelaide, SA 5000