Research activity per year

Personal profile


Dr Duncan W. Maxwell is Senior Lecturer and Director of the Future Building Initiative, Monash University. He is also the Monash University Research Program Lead for Building 4.0 CRC, coordinating Monash's five-faculty reserach contribution. In addition, he is a Registered Architect with award-winning practice experience.

His research explores industrialised building — specifically the role that design plays in government and industry efforts to create new construction practices and develop the required skills. Industrialised building focuses on the systematisation of construction practice from design to deliver, introducing approaches from manufacturing. Duncan's primary research focus is on the use of platform-based approaches to construction that help building delivery practices overcome the problems associated with the temporary nature of traditional construction's project-basis. In the context of the wider architectural discipline, his research focuses on the articulation and development of ‘kit of parts’ and componentised design strategies for buildings, the use of modular design principles, and design for manufacture and assembly — all with a focus on improved design outcomes and a democratisation of the building design process. More broadly, Duncan takes an active and strategic interest in reserach conducted by the wider Future Building Initiative team he leads, exploring the emerging digital and machine learning tools and decarbonisation impact that is driven by systematic industrialisation of building.

Duncan holds a PhD from the University of Sydney (2018), where he conducted his research within the Innovation in Applied Design Lab at the School of Architecture, Design, and Planning. His PhD thesis, "The Case for Design-Value in Industrialised House Building Platforms: Product to Ecosystem", investigated industrialised house building product platforms that have been developed by Swedish companies to integrate design and off-site manufacture. The thesis made the case for greater design emhpasis in these product platforms to generate new forms of value, and considered how this design-value could lead product platforms to become platform ecosystem business models. In addition to his PhD, Duncan holds an MArch from the University of Tasmania (2008), and BSc from Robert Gordon University (2006).

Duncan provides strategic input to the Monash Architecture curriculum, and teaches "Industrialised Building" and "Building Prefab", courses that introduce students to the concepts and thinking that underpin the future of construction, and regularly provides guest lectures and keynote talks at industry and community events.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

Education/Academic qualification

Architecture , PhD, The Case for Design-Value in Industrialised House Building Platforms: Product to Ecosystem, University of Sydney


Award Date: 1 Aug 2018

Architecture , MArch (Hons), University of Tasmania


Award Date: 1 Nov 2008

Architecture , BSc, Robert Gordon University


Award Date: 1 Jun 2006

Research area keywords

  • Industrialised Construction
  • Product Platform
  • Prefabrication
  • Design Value
  • Platform Ecosystem
  • Industrialised House Building
  • Swedish Construction
  • Construction
  • Business Models
  • Construction Logistics
  • Supply Chain Strategy
  • Architectural Practice
  • Architectural Design
  • Modular Construction
  • Off-site Construction

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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