Glenda Caldwell

    Engineering careers
    From improving aged care to better batteries and reef-protecting bots, engineers at QUT are solving society’s big challenges

    Glenda Caldwell looks at how we can integrate tech into architecture to create better living spaces

    Whether it’s in the design of a built environment, communicating your design, visualising how it comes together or improving construction processes, technology is a big part of architecture. And like most digital transformation, there’s challenges to adoption.

    That’s where Glenda’s research comes in. She uses design approaches to understand what motivates people in the industry to adopt technologies into their practices. The benefits are huge – from saving time and material costs, to minimising waste, and freeing people up from drudgery and dirty work practices that robots could do – and into creative spaces where the human mind is best employed.

    “Many companies are challenged by not having enough resources or time to invest in adopting certain technologies into their processes, whether that’s at the design stage or construction stage,” she says.

    “From our research, working with our industry partners, we find that adopting and integrating these technologies into their processes allows them to be more efficient, and to increase the value of their products,” she adds.

    Finding a path

    Glenda was initially interested in becoming a doctor like her father, but when she did an architecture undergraduate course, she says “everything just fell into place”. She travelled to Bolivia and Spain as part of her studies and career paths, and from the US, landed in Australia to pursue a PhD at QUT. Now an associate professor, she says research in architecture is a critical task, and part of developing our ideas about how we want to live in the future.

    “Our built environment impacts and influences the way we humans experience the world. I think it’s becoming increasingly evident to everyone that we need to be responsible in how we impact the world around us. 

    “We need to think about the needs of all parts of society, the different cultural needs of people, but also the natural elements of the world around us as well. That is something that needs to be front and centre, because when we keep in mind the interests of the natural world, it’s improving our own health and wellbeing as well.”

    Glenda’s pathway

    This article was created in partnership with QUT and originally appears in the QUT STEM Guide 2022.


    Heather Catchpole

    Author: Heather Catchpole

    Heather co-founded Careers with STEM publisher Refraction Media. She loves storytelling, Asian food & dogs and has reported on science stories from live volcanoes and fossil digs


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