Dr Paola Leardini

Senior Lecturer

School of Architecture
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
p.leardini@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 53957
0426041867

Overview

Paola Leardini is a Senior Lecturer and the Technology Stream Leader in the School of Architecture. She studied architecture with a focus on green technologies in Milan, Berlin, Leicester and Copenhagen, and holds a PhD on energy efficiency and IEQ of office buildings from the Politecnico di Milano (Italy). Her doctorate work was undertaken under the guidance of Prof. P. Ole Fanger, one of the world’s leading experts in the field of thermal comfort.

Paola has worked as an ESD designer and consultant, and taught in tertiary institutions in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and New Zealand. Her main research focus is on energy perfomance and thermal comfort of new and existing building stock, including investigation and assessment of multiple intervention strategies for low to positive energy buildings. Through her academic and professional activity, Paola has built up extensive experience in building diagnostic and retrofitting. In 2003-04 she contributed to the major urban regeneration and social housing retrofitting program of the historical district “Quartiere Mazzini” in Milan (Italy), funded by the Lombardy Regional Council. Later, her research focused on eco-retrofitting of state housing in New Zealand, financially supported by the University and industry partners. As a certified Passivhaus designer, in 2012 Paola became founding member of the Passive House Institute New Zealand (PHINZ), and in 2014 was Visiting Scientist at the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt (Germany). Her studies on comfort and energy efficiency of new and historic residential buildings have been published internationally. She serves as a reviewer of scientific journals and was invited to join judging panels of prestigious sustainable architecture competitions, including the Climate CoLab by the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.

Paola’s professional and academic work aims at dissolving the apparent dichotomy between design and performance in architecture, especially through her latest reserch on performative design and eco-digital fabrication. Her current research projects also include: perfomance assessment of certified green office and residential buildings, smart technologies and smart grid, and positive tourism development. She recently joint the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, an inter-disciplinary research initiative involving over 80 research, industry and government partners, to deliver socio-technical urban water management solutions to make Australian towns and cities water sensitive.

Research Interests

  • Water sensitive cities
    Urban Intensification and green Infrastructures: demonstration projects for testing water sensitive precinct design strategies.
  • Performance assessment of certified green buildings
    Impact of rating tools on building performance and occupant satisfaction through environmental and energy monitoring as well as POE surveys.
  • Smart technologies and smart grid
    Impact of smart technologies and networks on building and urban design processes.
  • Positive tourism development
    Strategies for positive ecological, socio-cultural and economic regeneration of tourism destinations through sustainable tourism development.
  • Performative design and eco-digital fabrication
    New approach to the design of the built environment, driven by digital technologies of quantitative and qualitative performance-based simulation.
  • Passive House Standards in warm climates
    PH standard’s suitability in warm climate and development of context-responsive building solutions.
  • Diagnostic, conservation and reuse of buildings of cultural and historical significance
    Development and comparative analysis of intervention strategies for the performance upgrade of the existing building stock and the socio-economic regeneration of its context.

Qualifications

  • PhD Environmental Quality Project, Politecnico di Milano
  • Master of Science in Achitecture, Politecnico di Milano

Publications

View all Publications

Grants

View all Grants

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Due to the relatively modest replacement rate of the existing building stock in Australia, it will be more than half a century before all buildings achieve the current level of performance exhibited in new buildings. Research is required to verify the impact of both voluntary rating tools and legislative measures to promote energy efficiency within the existing building stock and to increase the rate of its refurbishment. This research will include a detailed evaluation of the existing commercial building stock within the major Australian cities and the identification of barriers to the implementation of sustainability refurbishments. It will assess a large sample of existing commercial buildings to determine suitable retrofit strategies, the energy, and cost savings of undertaking major refurbishment and the effect on capital value of such refurbishments. This research project may be developed in collaboration with UQ Business School, UQ GPEM, Green Building Council of Australia and commercial real estate partners.

  • The CRC for Water Sensitive Cities (WSC) brings together the inter-disciplinary research expertise and thought-leadership to undertake research that will revolutionise water management in Australia and overseas. The UQ School of Architecture will contribute to Program D – Adoption Pathways of CRC WSC, focusing on “Urban Intensification & Green Infrastructure”. This project will examine the issues and processes involved in delivering best-practice Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) outcomes by designing demonstration projects for precinct scale development and redevelopment in Australian cities. Research will include the following streams: urban infill, urban green and water infrastructure, urban flood-landscapes.

  • The Passive House (or PassivHaus) standard was originally developed in Germany and has since spread throughout Europe. In recent years it has found popularity, and has been implemented in diverse climatic regions. To date 40,000 houses, schools, offices, and other building types have been built to the PH standard around the world, only a few in Australia. This research project aims to verify if and to what extent this standard can be applied in Australia under its specific climatic and socio-economic conditions. Given the PH is a performance standard rather than a list of prescriptive requirements, the study will identify “local” conditions relevant for the application of PH principles in the country and, accordingly, develop design strategies, to be validated by the simulation tool Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) released by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt and internationally used for certification.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book

Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Due to the relatively modest replacement rate of the existing building stock in Australia, it will be more than half a century before all buildings achieve the current level of performance exhibited in new buildings. Research is required to verify the impact of both voluntary rating tools and legislative measures to promote energy efficiency within the existing building stock and to increase the rate of its refurbishment. This research will include a detailed evaluation of the existing commercial building stock within the major Australian cities and the identification of barriers to the implementation of sustainability refurbishments. It will assess a large sample of existing commercial buildings to determine suitable retrofit strategies, the energy, and cost savings of undertaking major refurbishment and the effect on capital value of such refurbishments. This research project may be developed in collaboration with UQ Business School, UQ GPEM, Green Building Council of Australia and commercial real estate partners.

  • The CRC for Water Sensitive Cities (WSC) brings together the inter-disciplinary research expertise and thought-leadership to undertake research that will revolutionise water management in Australia and overseas. The UQ School of Architecture will contribute to Program D – Adoption Pathways of CRC WSC, focusing on “Urban Intensification & Green Infrastructure”. This project will examine the issues and processes involved in delivering best-practice Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) outcomes by designing demonstration projects for precinct scale development and redevelopment in Australian cities. Research will include the following streams: urban infill, urban green and water infrastructure, urban flood-landscapes.

  • The Passive House (or PassivHaus) standard was originally developed in Germany and has since spread throughout Europe. In recent years it has found popularity, and has been implemented in diverse climatic regions. To date 40,000 houses, schools, offices, and other building types have been built to the PH standard around the world, only a few in Australia. This research project aims to verify if and to what extent this standard can be applied in Australia under its specific climatic and socio-economic conditions. Given the PH is a performance standard rather than a list of prescriptive requirements, the study will identify “local” conditions relevant for the application of PH principles in the country and, accordingly, develop design strategies, to be validated by the simulation tool Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) released by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt and internationally used for certification.

  • Advances in computer programs both in design and fabrication enable new form making principles and processes driven by building performance. While this can be affected by spatial, social, cultural and economic factors, the research will focus on links between environmental factors and architecture. It will explore the potential of parametric tools in climate sensitive architecture and urban design, shifting the focus from the final architectural product to the process of form generation - where the role of the designer is to define performance criteria and manage the spatial outcome of digital design processes. Together with parametric design processes and tools, the research will address their link to material fabrication within a redefined environmental framework.