Westminster student Sana Aleem has won the first prize for her Master’s thesis ‘Courtyard houses of Lahore, Pakistan’ at the eighth Network for Comfort and Energy Use in Buildings (NCEUB) Masters Students’ Conference.

Sana Aleem, who is studying for her MSc in Architecture and Environmental Design, submitted a presentation about the traditional courtyard houses in Lahore, Pakistan, emphasising the role played by social cultural and environmental factors in enhancing comfort in this semi-arid climate.

As part of her research, Sana studied a traditional multiple courtyard house, ’Barood Khana Haveli’ in Lahore, by investigating the spatial formation and characteristics of the courtyards in a traditional Muslim house and the contribution of their original architectural morphology to the outdoor thermal comfort in a semi-arid climate. 

Her research findings revealed that to establish a thermal equilibrium in the courtyards, a natural air movement was induced in the courtyards from high to low temperature zones. In addition, appropriate orientation, geometries of the courtyards, and selective use of flora-fauna were proposed for the development of desirable microclimates for outdoor comfort in the contemporary courtyard house in Lahore. 

Talking about her thesis, Sana said: “It was a very empowering experience to compete among the many universities and take the first prize home. This research work was done under the supervision of Benson Lau, who was both my tutor and philosopher in this research. His assistance with the literature work and excellent eye for the validity of information gathered, laid the strong foundation for this study. I am also deeply obliged to my course leader Rosa Schiano Phan for encouraging me to compete with other postgraduate students and the attendees of MC conference for recognising my work.  

“As this research is one of the very few studies conducted on the significance of the courtyard houses in Lahore, the endorsement from MC conference will assist me to further extend my research work.”

The eighth NCEUB Masters students’ conference was held in London on Friday 21 September. It was aimed at Architecture or Engineering Masters students to exchange on important papers and topics related to their courses. The event also enabled students to network with potential architecture professionals and employers.

This year’s conference was attended by about 40 students from eight different institutions with 26 papers presented.

Sana Aleem is the third Westminster Architecture and Environmental Design Master’s student in a row to win the first prize at the ‘People and Building’ NCEUB Masters’ students’ conference.

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

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