Resilience and sustainability

Find a doctoral supervisor to match your research theme.

Paola Boarin

Paola is Associate Professor of Architecture Technology and Sustainability, School Director (Architecture Programmes), Architecture Technology and Sustainability Stream Leader and the co-founder and inaugural co-director of the Future Cities Research Hub.

Areas of research

  • Restorative and regenerative design
  • Design strategies for energy efficiency and environmental quality of the built environment
  • Sustainable conservation and adaptive reuse of existing and historic buildings
  • Climate change and heritage buildings
  • Post-occupancy evaluations and audit procedures
  • Existing buildings' sustainable retrofit and regenerationI
  • nternational rating systems for environmental sustainability assessment of buildings and neighbourhoods
  • National and international policies for energy-efficient buildings

Recent projects/research

View Paola's full profile

Emilio Garcia

The research of Dr. Emilio Garcia has been focused in the application of ecological resilience to urban landscapes. In 2008 he won a Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction. In the last six years he has been researching about resilience in relationship with compactness, adaptability, inequality, inheritance, and processes of persistence and change in built environments. He has written a book with Professor Brenda Vale, titled "Unravelling sustainability and resilience in the built environment," which was published by Routledge in 2017.

Areas of research

  • Resilience, inequality and affordability
  • Resilience of compact and disperse urban landscapes
  • Adaptive change, transformative change and collapse in cities
  • Panarchy, adaptive cycles, thresholds, and multiple stability states in built environments
  • Measurement of resilience and heterogeneity of urban landscapes
  • Resilience and Inheritance

View Emilio's full profile

Stephen Knight-Lenihan

Stephen has a background in environmental science, working as a consultant until June 2010 when he joined the School. He gained his PhD in 2008. His research focus has been on how ecological principles influence decision-making, initially focusing on transport as a case study. His research focus more recently includes transitioning to low carbon economies, climate change impacts, catchment management and urban biodiversity, using resilience concepts as a theoretical framework.

Areas of research

  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation at a local government level
  • Biodiversity offsets in urban environments
  • Ecological resilience and social-ecological systems
  • Integrated catchment management

View Stephen's full profile

Manfredo Manfredini

Consistent with his doctoral and post-doctoral studies at the technical universities of Milan and Berlin, Manfredo’s research focuses on the intersections between the historical, critical and projective disciplines of architecture and urbanism. It concerns both theoretical and empirical design aspects of the modern and contemporary periods of continuous change within social, cultural and technological frameworks. His study areas, including both fundamental and applied research, are articulated along complementary axes, addressing transitions in public space, evolution of building typology and morphology, advances in sustainability and resilience in architecture and urbanism, and contemporary design education.

Areas of research

  • Public space transitions: form and meaning, borders and armatures, enclaves and networks, illusion and displacements in the spatial transitions from the consumerist to the post-consumerist ages
  • Urban regeneration: recombinant urban processes and post-typological architecture in rapidly evolving historical cities
  • Architecture as social morphology: processes of differentiation, hybridisation and incrementalism of type, form and identity between modernity and post-modernity
  • Sustainability in architecture and urbanism: technological frameworks and environment, energy, resilience and preservation in architecture and urbanism

View Manfredo's full profile

Ferdinand Oswald

Dr. Ferdinand Oswald's research focuses on two main research fields and climate zones.

First: Sustainable and energy efficient façade and building technologies and low-tech architecture in cold and moderate climate regions.
Second: Increasing comfort and reducing the utilisation of air conditioning in subtropical and tropical climate regions with passive cooling methods.

Early research experience involved the development of sustainable building projects e.g. passive houses. Realizing 2007 the first German apartment block in “Passive House Standard” as project head architect with Stefan Forster Architects in Frankfurt am Main (Germany). Using EIFS (exterior insulation finishing system) in this project as a non-reusable, non-recyclable and non-separable facade component leads to the development of a follower of this system. Outcomes from this research in the last ten years, is the research development, grants of patents, pre-certification testing’s and product publication of the façade system “StoSystain R”, the world first recyclable façade system with reclosable fastener fixation.

Areas of research

  • Construction detailing and building technologies
  • Façade design strategies
  • Optimising natural ventilation
  • Low-tech architecture
  • Reuse: recycling and separability of building components

View Ferdinand's full profile

Alessandro Premier

Alessandro's research activities are focused around the architectural integration of advanced technologies and materials for the building envelope. His investigation is aimed at combining high performances and architectural design through the identification and application of design practices for sustainable outcomes. He is interested in how buildings respond to the environment and to the users. The research outcomes are targeting urban regeneration and building retrofit strategies for improving the environmental quality of buildings and places. Alessandro is specialised in advanced building technologies and advanced façade design. In particular, he is interested in the architectural integration of innovative façade claddings, adaptive and dynamic skins and renewable technologies. 

Areas of research

  • Advanced façade design
  • Responsive architecture
  • Smart materials; building retrofit
  • Urban regeneration
  • Sustainable design strategies and innovation
  • Green building design
  • Colour and light design for wellbeing

Recent projects/research

View Alessandro's full profile

Contact Alessandro


Marjorie van Roon

Marjorie’s focus: designing/managing environments to minimise changes to hydrological, sedimentary and ecological regimes. Past research: assessment and prediction of water quality of the Upper Waitemata Harbour following urbanisation: heavy metal pollution from stormwater inputs to the Manukau Harbour. Current research: receiving water and ecological efficacy of Low Impact Urban Design and Development/Water Sensitive Design. Paired catchment investigations compare the ecological state of traditional versus water sensitive residential developments.

Areas of research

  • Low impact urban design and development (LIUDD)
  • Water sensitive design and green infrastructure uptake
  • The aquatic ecosystem health improvement from LIUDD/water sensitive design implementation in residential Auckland
  • Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem management and restoration
  • Integrated catchment (watershed) management
  • Coastal management

View Marjorie's full profile