Nadine Samaha (Level Architekture>Konstrukt) was recently announced the winner of the Women in Sustainability Award in this year’s Sustainability Awards. Knauf Australia sponsored this category again this year. We asked Nadine “5 Questions in 5 Minutes” ahead of the event.
1.) Congratulations on being a finalist in the Women in Sustainability category! Do you think it is still important to have a special category for women in this field?
Yes, I believe it is still important. We need to raise women’s profiles in our community. Women in 2020, still earn 81 cents for every dollar earned by men. According to the WomenRising2030 report, women’s leadership can unlock major opportunities linked to a sustainable economy.
2.) What will winning the award mean for your career?
Winning the award will provide me with further recognition. This will help me continue to successfully champion Sustainability and Regenerative Design in the global and local community. It will also help validate that my pursuit for sustainability is about cultural-deep connections to people, nature and place.
3.) I’m sure that you are proud of all your projects, but is there one that stands out?
As a practising architect, the Ceres autonomous project in Geelong culminates everything I aspired to achieve in Architectural Design and Sustainability. It achieves net-zero emissions and is carbon positive. The clients have expressed their immense satisfaction with the outcome of functionality and form for this project, which is their new residence.
As a researcher and advocate for sustainability, the RMIT proposal for “Transforming Motorways’ Noise Barriers” stands out. It proposes to reduce air pollution, noise pollution and improves livability.
As an ESD lecturer, instilling my students with circular thinking and upskilling them with practical tools. Broadening as well their horizons and satisfying their inquisitiveness.
4.) Where and how did your sustainability journey start?
I was fascinated when hearing about an autonomous house in the UK, designed and built by Drs. Robert and Brenda Vale in the early 1990s, which led me to research further.
I then started exploring indigenous and Eastern sustainable passive design principles. Travelling to Yemen, I found sustainability was not only in the architecture but embedded in the urban fabric. Notably studying among others, Hassan Fathy’s approach in Egypt, Bill Mollison on permaculture, Bruce Pascoe on indigenous agriculture and Julia Watson’s LO-TEK on Radical Indigenism.
5.) What is the one change you would like to see in the way we design our buildings to make them more sustainable?
I believe it is a cultural paradigm shift that we need to see. It is being conscious of our ritual actions and decisions, whoever we are. Adopting the simple passive design principles will drive a more sustainable built environment. However, it is our everyday actions that will have the most sustainable impact on our environment, society and economy.