UNSW has appointed leading architect and urban planner Philip Graus as the first Conjoint Professor in the Faculty of Built Environment.
The appointment of Philip Graus of multi-disciplinary practice Cox Architecture will enable UNSW Built Environment to build on its existing industry knowledge and further develop its curriculum.
“Our practice is passionately interested in what Sydney will be like in 20 or 30 years’ time and so is the University,” says Conjoint Professor Graus, a Director of Cox’s Sydney studio Cox Richardson.
“We do a lot of research, just in the process of working, and we have been working informally with UNSW’s City Futures Research Centre for many years,” he says. 
Award-winning architect and Dean of UNSW Built Environment, Professor Alec Tzannes, says the new position will bring industry and researchers closer together: “We have appointed a new generation leader to have an open agenda, an unstructured response to the challenge of integrating teaching, learning and research from practice.
“We have determined that Philip has exceptional practice skills and an interest in translating practice-based research into academic work of relevance. We have bestowed on him a significant title to reflect his and Cox Richardson’s relationship with our faculty as well as our City Futures Research Centre, and we anticipate that this will also further his professional expertise from the knowledge gained by the work we do together,” he says. Conjoint appointments are most commonly used in medicine.  
“A conjoint [in medicine] links evidence based medicine through clinical practice with scientic research, learning and teaching, to advance medicine. The same connections between practice and academic work exist in the built environment,” says Professor Tzannes.
Conjoint Professor Graus says similar linkages are well established in the US. “In Chicago, a leading architectural practice, university, a national research laboratory and the city government are building a spatial model of the city that they are going to test against climate-change scenarios, using big data. We hope to do the same here.”
The Faculty has been conducting studio sessions to ramp up teaching of planning and urban design as an integrated process and it is hoped the research focus will lead to better outcomes for students.
“It means the students doing the research will be highly skilled when they graduate, and even more employable,” he says.

Image by Brett Boardman. Professor Alec Tzannes (left) and Conjoint Professor Philip Graus (right).