Maria Rita (Maita) Bina Kessler

Senior Lecturer
Research Associate - OISD:LCB


Maita qualified as an architect and urban planner at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) in Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil, 1974. After working as an architect and researcher at Núcleo Orientado para a Inovação da Edificação (NORIE) linked to the UFRGS post-graduated programme, she got a year-long scholarship from the French Government to study pre-fabrication and housing in Paris.

Back in Brazil, she started a practice in Porto Alegre with P. Granzotto and P. Cassiano, later working for Fabio Penteado, Teru Tamaki Arquitetos Associados S/C Ltda, Campinas, São Paulo.

After moving to the UK in 1984, Maita studied at Oxford Brookes University for the Masters of Science degree, Energy Efficient Building (now SBPD), and now leads the Sustainable Design in Context module on this programme.

Her dissertation was an analysis of performance for earth-coupling systems in Porto Alegre,

RS, Brazil, designed and built by the then UFRGS Professor Ennio Cruz da Costa. Maita has since dedicated her studies and work to the greater integration between Oxford Brookes University and several Brazilian Universities, in order to bring students and lecturers from all institutions together.

Memberships (and affiliations)

  • Conselho de Arquitetura e Urbanismo (CAU), Brazil.
  • Teaching interests

    • Sustainability for Design, Urban and Regional Development.
    • Integration of Technology in the Design Process.
    • Working since 1993 at Oxford Brookes University, first as an Associate Lecturer, a Researcher and from 2008 as Senior Lecturer, Maita is engaged in international research and teaching sustainable design and technology integrated todesign at all levels of the School of Architecture.

    Research and consultancy

    • Thermal comfort and architectural language; research into social and cultural issues, as well as local resources, and the development of sustainable environments.
    • Urban and rural sustainability, bioclimatic design and bioclimatic refurbishment for the conservation of energy, passive ventilation, thermal performance of building envelope and users’ satisfaction. After several years acting as an environmental consultant to the Zeri Foundation (Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives) in Santa Vitoria do Palmar, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, she was involved in the conceptual planning of sustainable villages for Ethiopia, for the African Village Developments. In 2005, she took part in a workshop for the sustainable development of the seaside village of Porto de Galinhas, Pernambuco, Brazil, together with Prof. Circe Monteiro, Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE), Recife, Brazil, and Tony Lloyd-Jones, University of Westminster, London, following an invitation by the local community and local funding.
    • An Abbey Santander 2009-2010 Award gave Maita the opportunity to research passive design in Brasilia, Brazil, together with her MSc.SBPD student, Mafalda Franco. The work was done in collaboration with the Centro Universitario do Planalto Distrito Federal - UNIPLAN, Brasilia DF, Brazil. Results from this work will be presented at the coming Windsor Conference, April 2014.

    As a consequence of this work more Brazilian Universities have been contacted and Maita has been lecturing in Brasilia (UNIPLAN), in Porto Alegre at the Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUC RS) and in Recife (UFPE).

    Her interest at present is to work with Dr. Paola Sassi in the development of an international workshop modelled on the first half of the existing module, The Sustainable Built Environment (P30402) which is part of the MSc Sustainable Building Performance and Design (SBPD). Last January the model was first tested with the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE), Recife, PE, Brazil. Next planned workshop will be with the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning of Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUC RS), Porto Alegre, Brazil.

    Selected Publications

    • Fuentes, M., Kessler*, M. and Nicol, F. (2008) - Assessing buildings with green credentials, Oxford 2008, Oxford, UK.
    • Fuentes, M., Kessler*, M. and Nicol, F. (2008) - After POE: Building shaping design, Windsor 2008, Windsor, UK.
    • Kessler, M. (2007) - ASSBuilding, Southampton University: Post Occupancy Evaluation, first step for ADAPTIVE ALGORITHM implementation, the SARA project (Sustainable Architecture Applied to Replicable Public Access Buildings) 3rd year meeting was held on the 24th and 25th May 2007 in Barcelona, Spain.
    • Kessler, M., J.F. Nicol, and Rev. M Humphreys (1998). Indoor air temperature standards for the climatic regions of Brazil, Proceedings of the NUTAU98 Conference: architecture and urban design, technologies for the XXI century, Sao Paulo City, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
    • Nicol, F., Robinson, P. and Kessler, M. (1998) - Using night cooling in a temperate climate, PLEA 98, Lisbon, Portugal.
    • Nicol, F. and Kessler, M. (1998) - Perception of Comfort in Relation to Weather and Adaptive Opportunities, ASHRAE Transactions, Volume 104, Part 1, ASHRAE, USA.
    • Kessler, M. (1997) - Earth Coupling in Porto Alegre - Brazil, in proceedings of the Fourth National Earth Shelter Conference, Coventry University, UK.
    • Nicol, F., Robinson, P. and Kessler, M. - Design Studio Block B, The Wilson buildings - report off monitoring and user surveys July-November 1995 (1996) - in BRESCU’s main report that informs the following publications: Good Practice Case Study 308, Naturally Comfortable Offices - A Refurbisment Project, and General Information Report 48, Passive refurbishment at the Open University, 1997.

    Maita Bina Kessler


    School of Architecture

    Oxford Brookes University
    Headington Campus
    Gipsy Lane
    Oxford, OX3 0BP