Dr Rebecca McLaughlan

Lecturer in Architectural Design


Rebecca’s research takes place at the intersection of architecture, medicine, media, pedagogy and practice. She is a New Zealand registered architect with eight years’ experience across an array of project types including schools, primary healthcare, urban design, high-end and social housing. With a background in mental health facilities research (historic), her current work takes place within contemporary environments for oncology and palliative care, alongside general paediatric healthcare. For the previous two years’ she has co-ordinated the research design, data collection and analysis on the ARC-linkage funded project ‘Design for Wellbeing’ that investigates best practice in contemporary Australian paediatric hospitals. The common thread throughout her research is the pursuit of more rigorous methods to address complexities within the relationship between patient wellbeing, best practice models of care and the spatial practices determined by architectural form.

Current research grants

‘Overcoming the current limitations of EBD research using VR technology’
University of Melbourne Early Career Researcher Grant 2017
CI: Rebecca McLaughlan

This pilot project seeks to capitalise on the increasing accessibility of virtual reality technologies to advance the research methods currently available in the field of Evidence Based Design with the intent of better understanding subjective, psychological responses to the environments architects create.

‘The transdisciplinary design studio: Piloting a framework for epistemic fluency’
University of Melbourne Learning and Teaching Innovation Grant 2018
CI: Rebecca McLaughlan. PI’s: Alan Pert (MSD), Jason Lodge (Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education), Jennifer Philip (Melbourne Medical School), Mark Boughey (Centre for Palliative Care), Stefano Scalzo (Department of Health and Human Services), Tamara Kohn (Melbourne Department of Anthropology), Rachel Marsden (Melbourne School of Culture and Communication), Julie Bernhardt (Florey Neuroscience Institute).

Over 2016-2017 McLaughlan, Pert and Lodge developed a studio teaching model aimed at engaging architecture students as co-creators of knowledge within the field of healthcare environments design using a ‘speculative design’ methodology. This grant funds a pilot subject (Designing Transdisciplinary Practice, 2018) that will bring together a mixed cohort of students, including those from architecture, marketing and arts / cultural management, to work in transdisciplinary teams to propose new solutions for this complex field. Utilising interdisciplinary, collaborative, peer-directed teaching and learning, it aims to expose students to different disciplinary understandings and ways of working; improve their communication and collaboration skills; and draw on the existing strengths of the studio environment, that exposes decision making processes and embraces productive failure, to equip students to make better evaluative decisions.

‘Resourcing sessional staff to deliver exceptional studio teaching’
University of Melbourne Learning and Teaching Innovation Grant 2018
CI: Rebecca McLaughlan. PI’s: Alan Pert and Don Bates (MSD), Chi Baik (Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education).

This project will observe and document the teaching practices of 6-9 top-performing CDE studio leaders at the Melbourne School of Design. It will use this data to create a professional development programme for our sessional teaching staff. These findings will also be published within peer-reviewed journals to contribute applied research regarding teaching strategies to optimise student success within contemporary architectural education.

Featured projects


Architecture Urban and Cultural Heritage

Research Hub, Centre or Institute

Research directions

Architectural and Urban Past Healthy Communities and Infrastructure

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