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MSc Architecture Alumna wins Best Research Project Award at Passive Low Energy Architecture (PLEA) Conference in Hong Kong

Planning, Housing and Urban Design 7 January 2019

PLEA Conference 2018

Sana Aleem, who graduated from the MSc Architecture and Environmental Design Course last year, had her work recognised in the Student Design Colloquium at the 34th  PLEA Conference held in Hong Kong on Tuesday 11 December 2018.

As part of her research work, Sana completed a project, entitled ‘Traditional Multiple Courtyards House’, which won her the Best Research Project Award. She worked together with fellow alumna Sana Munir under the name ‘Team Westminster’, competing against several other academic institutions from a total of 15 different countries. The thesis investigated a 150-year-old courtyard house, ‘Barood Khana Haveli’ in Lahore, with respect to the architectural ideology of Muslim courtyards in the region, along with the impact of communal activities on the spatial design and the use of vegetation to control the solar gains.

The Student Design Colloquium took place as a conference session aiming to encourage imaginative ideas, projects and action plans that best demonstrate the set conference theme, which for 2018 was ‘Passive and Low Energy Architecture – Smart and Healthy within the 2-degree limit.’

Sana’s research showed that each courtyard in the case study building worked together in creating the overall outdoor micro climate of the house, despite holding their individual behaviours throughout the year. The architectural placement of courtyards with respect to solar axis, the appropriate geometries and selective plantation of vegetation in solar sensitive areas, were proposed to achieve better comfort levels in the courtyard houses located in the semi-arid climate of Lahore.

Talking about her achievement, Sana Aleem said: “After the NCEUB Masters students’ conference in London, it was another great experience to present at the PLEA 2018 conference in Hong Kong. To witness eminent Professors and students from all around the globe, working together to bring more environmental solutions through architecture was very empowering and encouraging for us.

“I feel very honoured and humbled to have been awarded at this prestigious event. I would like to dedicate this win to my advisor Benson Lau, my Course Leader Rosa Schiano-Phan, my very supportive tutors, fellow team mate Sana Munir and class fellows at the University of Westminster”.

The 2018 PLEA conference was held between 10-12 December, providing a platform for the innovative and traditional bio climatic designs and principles for sustainable architecture. It marked the first time a students’ colloquium was included in the conference where each selected team was awarded 50,000 HKD. The event is attended every year by a diverse community of academics and industry professionals, each of whom are dedicated to the development of a more sustainable built environment.

Sana Aleem is the second MSc Westminster Architecture and Environmental Design student to have been recognised at the annual PLEA international conference.

Find out more about the Architecture and Environmental Design MSc course offered at the University of Westminster.


About the University of Westminster:

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We offer highly attractive practice-based courses that are independently rated as excellent, many with international recognition. Our distinguished 180-year history has meant we lead the way in many areas of research, particularly politics, media, art and design, architecture and biomedical sciences, and our position in the city of London allows us to continue to build on our close connections with leading figures and organisations in these areas as well as in the worlds of business, information technology, politics and law.

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