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Dr Paola Sassi

Dipl.Ing. MSc PhD RIBA

Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer

School of Architecture

Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment

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Sustainable design, sustainability theory, ethics and practical implementation.
Research interests include social, ethical and technical aspects of sustainable architecture and urban design and focus on the practical implementation of sustainable development in the construction industry.

Research projects

  • Closed loop material cycle (CLMC) buildings: research into designing buildings to enable their dismantling and the reuse, recycling or biodegrading of the recovered building elements. This research includes investigations into the technical requirements to create CLMC buildings and the social and economic benefits of using such technologies. Part of the research was funded by the RIBA Research Trust (see
  • Adaptable building design: research into factors affecting building lifespan and design approaches to ensure maximum building life span.
  • Design and construction of zero heating and zero waste development: Development of two flats designed to Passivhaus Standards (ie to operate without auxiliary heating) and to be 'closed loop', that is to be dismantleable and recyclable or biodegradable at the end of its life. (See Project is currently being monitored.
  • High density 'human' design: development of a high density housing development design that combines a zero CO2 construction with integrated private and communal green spaces to offer a sustainable high quality of life solution. Design was shortlisted for the Letchworth Garden City Design Competition for a sustainable housing development in 2007. A design proposal adopting the same principles at an urban level was shortlisted for the Sustainable Living by Design Competition, organised by the RIBA in 2006.
  • Strategies for Sustainable Architecture: research into international approaches to sustainable architectural and urban design, ranging from compact and car-free city developments to designing for resource efficiency.
  • Sustainability and environmental thinking: research into the thinking and approaches of pioneering environmentalists and contemporary advocates of sustainability.
  • Waste minimisation in the construction industry: advisory work to research groups investigating aspects of waste minimisation and green and recycled material specification. RICS Foundation: Environmental materials construction and research, feasibility research for internet based 'Green' materials database. (2001). CIRIA project RP654: Internet Register of Recycling Sites - Steering Group Member (2003). Scottish Ecological Design Association: Detailing for Deconstruction Guide - Steering Group member (2004-2005). PII (Partners in Innovation) project: National Green Specification (NGS) - Steering group member (2004-2005)
  • European Union CRAFT research project: Environmental materials construction and research project into uses of cardboard tubes in construction (2001)
  • Post-occupancy evaluation: environmental building assessment of energy efficient office and light industrial buildings in Machynlleth, Wales for the Welsh Development Agency, including surveys of occupants comfort levels (1996-2007).


Journal articles

  • Tirana MA, Lamberts R, Sassi P, 'Should we consider climate change for Brazilian social housing? : Assessment of energy efficiency adaptation measures'
    Energy and Buildings (2017)
    ISSN: 0378-7788 eISSN: 0378-7788
    Abstract Website
  • Sassi P, 'Thermal comfort and Indoor Air Quality in super-insulated housing with natural and decentralised ventilation systems in the south of the United Kingdom'
    Architectural Science Review 60 (3) (2017) pp.167-179
    ISSN: 0003-8628 eISSN: 0003-8628
    Abstract Website
  • Samangooei M, Sassi P, Lack A, 'Soil-less systems vs. soil-based systems for cultivating edible plants on buildings in relation to the contribution towards sustainable cities'
    Future of Food : Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society 4 (2) (2016) pp.24-39
    ISSN: 2197-411X eISSN: 2197-411X
  • Triana MA, Lamberts R, Sassi P, 'Characterization Of Representative Building Typologies For Social Housing Projects In Brazil And Its Energy Performance'
    Energy Policy 87 (2015) pp.524-541
    ISSN: 0301-4215 eISSN: 0301-4215
    Abstract Website
  • Sassi P, 'A natural ventilation alternative to the Passivhaus standard for a mild maritime climate'
    Buildings 3 (1) (2013) pp.61-78
    ISSN: 2075-5309 eISSN: 2075-5309
    Abstract Website
  • Sassi P, 'Defining closed loop material cycle construction'
    Building Research and Information 36 (5) (2008) pp.509-519
    ISSN: 0961-3218 eISSN: 0961-3218
    Abstract Website
  • P. Sassi, 'Architecture and the Culture of Sustainability. Buildings as learning tools'
    Made (2006)
    ISSN: 1742-416 eISSN: 1742-416
  • Sassi P, 'Designing buildings to close the material resource loop'
    Proceedings of the ICE - Engineering Sustainability 157 (3) (2004) pp.163-171
    ISSN: 1478-4629 eISSN: 1478-4629
    Abstract Website
  • Sassi P, 'From Recycled to designing for Recycling'
    Made 1 (2004)
    ISSN: 1742-416X eISSN: 1742-416X
  • Sassi P, 'Classification in relation to dismantling, reusing and recycling'
    Sustainable Building: Independent Journal on Building and the Environment 4 (2002) pp.22-26
    ISSN: 1568-2919 eISSN: 1568-2919

Book chapters

  • Sassi P, 'Built Environment Sustainability and Quality of Life (BESQoL) methodology for development briefs and strategies' in Engaging Stakeholders in Education for Sustainable Development at University Level, Springer International Publishing (2016)
    ISBN: 978-3-319-26732-6
    Abstract Website
  • Sassi P, 'Biodegradable Buildings' in Brabbia CA (ed.), Design and Nature III, Wessex Institute of Technology: WIT Press (2006)
    ISBN: 978-1-84564-166-5
  • Sassi P, 'Offsite Construction' in Hall K (ed.), Green Building Bible, Green Building Press (2006)
    ISBN: 1898130035

Conference papers

  • Sassi P, 'Evaluation of indoor environment in super-insulated naturally ventilated housing in the south of the United Kingdom'
    (2016) pp.782-796
    ISBN: 978-0-9928957-3-0
    Abstract Website
  • Triana MA, Lamberts R, Sassi P, 'Impactos energéticos e econômicos de medidas de eficiência energética em projetos de HIS'
    (2016) pp.1917-1926
    ISBN: 978-85-92631-00-0
  • Triana Montes MA, Sassi P, Lamberts R, 'Performance of social housing in relation to climate change. Desempenho de habitações de interesse social frente às mudanças climáticas'
    1 (2016) pp.1806-1820
    ISBN: 978-85-89478-44-1
  • Sassi P, 'Progressive Essentialism: Built Environment Development Approaches For Increasing Participation In Sustainable Developments And Lifestyles'

  • Vaccari M, Sassi P, 'Environmental Assessment of Cardboard as a Building Material'

    Abstract Website
  • Hipwood T, Sassi P, 'Development of framework for the analysis of decision-making processes and incentive schemes within the context of sustainable building'
    2 (2014) pp.83-
    ISBN: 978-84-697-1815-5
  • Sassi P, 'Does the design of the built environment have a role in motivating and increasing participation in creating sustainable communities and living sustainable lifestyles?'
    4 (2014) pp.319-325
    ISBN: 978-84-697-1815-5
  • Gosling J, Naid M, Sassi P, Iosif L, Lark R, 'Flexible buildings for an adaptable sustainable future'
    1 (2008) pp.115-124


Other publications