The intention of this dissertation is to analyse five public works, TAFE projects, designed by Brisbane based architect Donald Robert Watson (1945- ). However, the primary focus is to understand the role of geometry in architecture, through observing Watson’s designs. Watson is one of Brisbane’s celebrated local architects and historians of the 20th and 21st Century. Watson has published books, such as Queensland Architects of the 19th century, co-authored with Judith McKay amongst many other journal essays and papers.1 The projects chosen for the analysis are located within South East Queensland, and date from 1992 - 2003. Complimenting the analysis component is a short history of Watson’s architectural education and professional training, along with a section regarding his design philosophy and process. Watson’s architectural education took place at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, and his training and professional experience at several prominent local Brisbane practices during the 60’s and 70’s.
This dissertation has been added to greatly by the generous time and insight provided by Watson. There has been a substantial body of knowledge added through an interview with Watson, undertaken by the author, on the 7th of February, 2005. There were several other meetings, which are unpublished, but have greatly added to the understanding of
Watson’s complex architecture. The approach taken was somewhat a natural unfolding of information. The initial stage was to become familiar with Watson’s architecture and to gain some insight into his designs through discussion. Following on, projects were then selected for analysis. The scope of this dissertation had to be contained, which led to only five of Watson’s TAFE designs to be included. As these five projects display different points of interest with regard to geometry and are of a similar building type, educational facilities, it stands relevant to evaluate and discuss them together. Watson’s approach to design with a geometrically minded attitude and enthusiasm, allows him, through great skill, to apply geometry in many different ways to create successful architecture. What has been established is that geometry is the underpinning facet of the building pattern or design. The pattern in turn is a framework by which architectural expression can be significantly ingrained in the building. In retrospect, this research and study has led to an understanding of relationships between geometry, form and space, through analysis of a local collection of TAFE buildings.
1 McKay, J/ Watson, D. Architects of the 19th century, (Queensland Museum and Q-build Project Services, 1994)