David Burns' research and practice engage architecture, media, and politics. His work manifests as site specific art, academic research and writing, and innovative pedagogies in spatial design and media studies. His current research – as a PhD candidate at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths – examines the material-media histories of Maralinga, South Australia, site of the British nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 60s.
David’s practice includes the curation and development of public conversations and project commissions for major arts organisations and biennales including the Venice Biennale, the Prague Quadrennial, the Gwangju Design Biennale, Kaldor Public Art Projects, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, and Arts Centre Melbourne, among others. His work has been curated into exhibitions of architecture, art, and design in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. In 2010 he co-founded the curatorial collective N with Sam Spurr and Adrian Lahoud. In 2016 he established N Editions to publish limited edition books, art, and music.
David has developed and led innovative curricula in fields of architecture, design, and art in universities in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. David began his academic career in 2001 as the Paul Rudolph Visiting Assistant Professor of Architecture at Auburn University. He worked at Carnegie Mellon University from 2003-2008 as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architecture (2003-2008) and as a Visiting Professor at the CMU Entertainment Technology Center (2006-2007). In 2008 he relocated to Australia to be senior lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney School of Architecture.
David holds a MSc in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University and a BArch from the University of Tennessee. The completion of his PhD is anticipated in 2019. He has worked as an architect and designer for Asymptote Architecture, the Guggenheim Museum, and Holabird and Root, among others. In 2000, he established the multi-disciplinary practice SO-AD which completed projects in architecture, set design, interactive design, and graphic design. SO-AD's work for the Andy Warhol Museum garnered two AIGA awards and was reviewed in multiple publications including a feature article in Metropolis Magazine. David's solo work and projects with SO-AD have been published in Architectural Record, Abitare, Domus, Architecture Australia, Architecture Review Australia, and the Architect's Newspaper, among others.
In 2009 he was hired to initiate and direct a new suite of degrees in photography and situated media at the University of Technology Sydney School of Design. He served as Director and Senior Lecturer, Photography and Situated Media from 2009-2015.