Meet our Researchers - Finding the Answers that help ISCRR make a difference

Kate Tregloan is a Lecturer in Monash University Art Design + Architecture and MADA's Deputy Associate Dean (Education).

Kate is a registered architect with experience as a designer and maker of buildings, interior spaces, furniture, jewellery and other objects.  She has an abiding fascination with the design and construction of spatial experiences for particular users.  Practice and project interests focus on the relationship between the designed artefact and its context, balancing fixed and flexible elements for sustainable design approaches, and things that can be understood in multiple ways.

Kate also has a particular research interest in brief development through design processes, and the intersection of qualitative and quantitative judgments that influence both the production and assessment of design. Current research projects focus on the exploratory activities and cognitive functions that underpin learning, designing, and learning to design.  These issues extend beyond student work via post-occupancy evaluation and the learning that can inform and emerge from designing.

Kate Tregloan is one of over 60 researchers who make up the ISCRR research network. Many who form part of ISCRR's network of researchers, like Kate, help ISCRR find the answers which help make a difference to those living with a traumatic injury.

Where do you work?

I work in the Department of Architecture at Monash University Art Design + Architecture (MADA).

Where were you prior to starting at Monash University?

Prior to starting at Monash I was at Melbourne University, working on the development and delivery of a large cohort interdisciplinary design subject for beginning designers.  I have also been in practice working on the design and construction of a range of spaces, buildings and other artifacts since 1995 in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.

How long have you been a researcher with ISCRR?

I have just completed my first piece of research for ISCRR, a project entitled RIPL Project One : Post-occupancy built and technology design evaluation.  The project has been completed over the past 12 months.  This was an interdisciplinary project, working with colleagues from MADA and also from the Department of Occupational Therapy.

What area of research are you working in and what attracted you to this type of research?

My research work crosses a number of boundaries, centring on refined Design Thinking approaches and their realisation. I am interested in the intersection of the somewhat fuzzy elements of design and creative practices, and the rather more pointed aspects of decision making. This intriguing junction finds its way into the experience and assessment of design/ing in a number of settings. This has included design development, post-occupancy evaluation and educational connoisseurship.  

I am also interested in the ways in which technologies can act as tools to support these activities and have developed a number of innovative responses to this challenge.  When these activities coincide with my disciplinary background and focus on the design and construction of spatial experiences it all gets extra exciting.

What do you like best about your role?

I find the richness of perspective different people bring to design issues and decision making fascinating.  I enjoy finding new ways to help people to make these perspectives manifest, and developing new tools and approaches that can support those ambitions.  It is very rewarding to assist students to develop their skills, but also a great privilege to contribute to the design of new environments that can help people to enjoy rich and satisfying lives on their own terms.   

What was the most fulfilling piece of research you completed?

Although I have very much enjoyed developing a new tailored approach to post-occupancy evaluation for ISCRR and the TAC, this would have to be my (very nearly completed) PhD!  It is entitled Design Epiphany and the Opportunities of Wickedness - constructions of insight, perspective and design.  It has explored the experience, engendering and application of moments of insight with particular reference to the 'wicked' (or ill-defined) problems of design.

The project will find application in the conduct of research for, about and through design, and in the education of designers.  This area is also particularly relevant to interdisciplinary projects.  Refined design thinking approaches offer great scope for engagement with complex and layered contemporary issues, and for collaborations with others outside of the creative disciplines.

How is your research benefiting/providing impact for the Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA) and the TAC?

The innovative, tailored and comprehensive post-occupancy evaluation of built environment and technology design at RIPL Project One has identified both successes and challenges and criteria for these evaluations. The project will inform the design of future RIPL projects, and is also relevant to the development of new models of housing and support for TAC and VWA clients living with neurotrauma. Recommendations consider Site Context, Orientation and Planning of built spaces, Function vs Home, Effective Customisation and Flexibility, Client Selection and Transition, Building Skills and Independence, Assistive Technologies, the Support Model and Work Environment.  Innovative approaches to the communication of findings seek to make them available across a range of audiences, and include navigable panoramas that represent occupied spaces with situated research findings, integrating detailed analysis and spatial experience.

What is the best piece of advice you've been given, and what would you give?

Listen ...

Describe yourself in three words.Engaged, Exploratory, Focussed