Trained as an architect in Italy, Paolo Tombesi joined the University of Melbourne in 1997 and was appointed to the Chair in Construction in 2009. Since then, he has also held visiting positions at the University of Reading (United Kingdom), University of Yale and University of Minnesota (United States), and the Ecole Polytechnique Federale in Lausanne - EPFL (Switzerland).
The overarching concern of Professor Tombesi’s work is the relationship between the intellectual dimension of building and the socio-technical aspects of its physical construction.
A former Fulbright Fellow, he has a PhD from the University of California at Los Angeles on the distribution of technical design knowledge in the building industry, developed by examining the construction of Frank Gehry’s buildings.
An international authority on the industrial organisation of architectural practice and the analysis of the building procurement process, Professor Tombesi employs industrial economics, labour theory and regional development models to examine the relationship between design, technological innovation, knowledge production and building markets.
Between 2005 and 2009, he was an Italian Government Research Fellow at the Faculty of Architecture of the Polytechnic of Turin as part of ‘Brain Return’, a national programme designed to build new research capacity in the country. In Turin, Professor Tombesi led a research group investigating the procurement of iconic public buildings in Italy and across Europe.
Since 2004, he has secured multiple competitive research grants and performed refereeing roles for several national research councils. In 2007 and 2010, he was appointed as built environment expert to the research assessment initiatives of the Australian Commonwealth. He has been working as a consultant for state and federal governments as well as the Royal Australian Institute of Architects on research and heritage issues, most notably on the 2006 World Heritage Listing nomination of the Sydney Opera House to UNESCO.
Since the mid-1980s he has contributed to some of the world’s leading architectural and building periodicals. Between 1990 and 1996 he worked for the Italian architectural review Casabella, and he is currently on the editorial board of the British Construction Management and Economics. His writings have appeared in Architectural Research Quarterly, arcCA, Architecture Australia, Art China, Building Research and Information, Cartas Urbanas, Casabella, Center, Construction Management and Economics, Costruire, Domus, Journal of Architectural Education, Journal of Architectural Engineering, Journal of Architecture, Journal of Disaster Prevention, Harvard Design Magazine , Spazio & Societá and UME. In 2000, his article ‘The carriage in the needle’, on the industrial restructuring of the building and architectural sector, won the Journal of Architectural Education Award for outstanding article.
In 2005, with his colleagues Blair Gardiner and Tony Mussen, he received the Sisalation Prize from the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. The resulting book, Looking Ahead: Defining the Terms of a Sustainable Architectural Profession, was published in 2007.
Most recently he has been involved in the activities of the Building Intelligence Project at Columbia University (C-BIP), and with the professional and academic scene in Sri Lanka. To date Professor Tombesi has given numerous public addresses and advanced seminars around the world, and lectured at several universities, including Harvard, Yale, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Syracuse and Navarra.
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Paolo Tombesi's highlights
Paolo Tombesi's selected work
Digital Fabrication Technologies: Analysing Patterns Of Adoption And Innovative Transforma..
Capital gains and architectural losses: the transformative journey of Caudill Rowlett Scot..
From Finger Pointing To Life Saving: Defining Professional Responsibility For Health And S..
Displaying the 8 most recent projects by Paolo Tombesi.
Displaying the 101 most recent scholarly works by Paolo Tombesi.
Is conventional knowledge enough? Playing the devil's advocate in the adoption of digital fabrication technology
P Tombesi, B Gardiner, S Colabella
Conference Proceedings | 2016 | CAADRIA 2016, 21st International Conference on Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia - Living Systems and Micro-Utopias: Towards Continuous Designing
The Formation of Building Industry Samples through the Analysis of Individual Projects: Two Australian Examples
P TOMBESI, A HUTSON, M NIGRA, B FOWLER, V SAUNDERS DUCOS, WL TEOH, S CHATURVEDI
Conference Proceedings | 2010 | AUBEA 2010 - Proceedings of the 2010 Conference of the Australasian Universities Building Education Association
Globality, Locality, and Freedom in the India of Satellier
P Scriver, P TOMBESI, B DAVE, B GARDINER
Conference Proceedings | 2007 | Panorama to Paradise: Scopic Regimes in Architectural and Urban History and Theory. Proceedings of the XXIVth Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) 2007
Upstairs/Downstairs: India, Australia and the changing division of labour in 'offshore' architectural production and education
P Scriver, P TOMBESI, B DAVE, B GARDINER
Conference Proceedings | 2007 | Techniques & Technologies: Transfer & Transformation. Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference of the Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia
Honours, Awards and Fellowships
1991, 1992, 1993
FRICS - Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Research Fellow, Italian Ministry of Research
Professor Of Building
Architecture, Building And Planning
Doctor of Philosophy
University of California - Los Angeles
Bachelor of Architecture
University of Rome La Sapienza