Dr Paola Sassi


Senior Lecturer
Research Associate - OISD:LCB

Paola is an architect specialised in sustainable design. She teaches and undertakes research at Oxford Brookes University and the Oxford Institute of Sustainable Development. Previously she taught sustainable architecture at Nottingham University and Cardiff University. She has over 30 years of architectural practice experience mainly in Germany and the UK and as partner of Sassi Chamberlain Architects was responsible for two shortlisted sustainable design competition entries and the design and construction of experimental buildings including two ultra-low energy closed loop material cycle flats in Cardiff and a Victorian terrace refurbishment achieving 80% reduction in heating requirements. Paola researches, publishes and has been invited internationally to speak about her work in the field of design for deconstruction and closed loop material cycles, ventilation in ultra-low energy homes, motivations for adopting sustainable lifestyles. She is the author of ‘Strategies for Sustainable Architecture’, runner up in the RIBA International Book Award 2007 and translated in Italian and Chinese.

Teaching responsibilities

  • Subject Coordinator for Technology for the RIBA Studio programme
  • MSc and PhD research supervisor

Research interests

  • The practice of sustainable design
  • Design for longevity, material reuse and close loop material cycles
  • Low energy and zero carbon design: indoor environment quality
  • The impact of the built environment on motivating and facilitating uptake of sustainable lifestyles

Selected recent publication

Some publications are available on http://www.researchgate.net/home

Sustainable design practice

  • Sassi, P. (2016) Built Environment Sustainability and Quality of Life (BESQoL) methodology for development briefs and strategies. In Ed: W. Leal Filho & L. Brandli Engaging Stakeholders in Education for Sustainable Development at University Level part of World Sustainability Series. Springer International Publishing.
  • Samangooei, M., Sassi, P., Lack, A. (2016) 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. Vol.4 Nr 2. University of Kassel, and the Federation of German Scientists.
  • Triana, A., Lamberts, R., Sassi, P. (2015) Characterization Of Representative Building Typologies For Social Housing Projects In Brazil And Its Energy Performance. Energy Policy 87 (2015), pp. 524-541.
  • Sassi, P. (2015). Strategies for Sustainable Architecture. Taylor and Francis. Originally published in 2006 and republished in hardback. (ISBN 978-1-13-813229-0).

Design for longevity, material reuse and close loop material cycles

  • Jonathan Gosling, Paola Sassi, Mohamed Naim, Robert Lark (2013) Adaptable buildings: a systems approach. Sustainable Cities and Society 7 (2013) 44–51.
  • Sassi, P. (2013) Socio-economic resilience in the built environment through design for deconstruction, reuse and closed loop material cycles. Reclaim + Remake International Symposium 2013. April 11-13, 2013, Washington, DC.
  • Sassi, P. (2008). Defining closed loop material cycle construction. Building Research and Information, (2008) 36(5), 509–519 (ISSN: 09613218).
  • Sassi, P. (2004). Designing buildings to close the material resource loop. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Engineering Sustainability 157 Issue ES3, September 2004 pp.163-171. (ISSN 1478 4637).
  • Sassi P. (2002). Study of current building methods and products that enable dismantling and their classification according to their ability to be reused, recycled or downcycled. Proceedings of SB2002, International Conference for Sustainable Building 2002, Oslo Sep 2002.
  • For information on designing buildings to enable their dismantling and the reuse, recycling or biodegrading of the recovered building elements refer to website funded by RIBA Research Trust http://www.sc-arch.co.uk/dfr/index.htm.
  • For details of the implementation in practice of the principles of design for closed loop material cycles, that is to be dismantleable and recyclable or biodegradable at the end of its life see http://www.sc-arch.co.uk/pages/Zero%20Resource%20House.htm.

Low energy and zero carbon design: indoor environment quality

  • Sassi, P. (2016) Evaluation of indoor environment in super-insulated naturally ventilated housing in the south of the United Kingdom. Windsor Conference 2016: Making Comfort Relevant. 7-10th April 2016 Windsor.
  • Sassi P. (2015) Indoor Environment Quality: Legislation And Regulations Implementation in the United Kingdom. ISIAQ International Conference Healthy Buildings 2015 Europe. May 18-20th 2015, Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Invited workshop presentation.
  • Sassi, P. (2013) A natural ventilation alternative to the Passivhaus standard for a mild maritime climate. Buildings. 2013, 3(1), 39-56 http://www.mdpi.com/2075-5309/3/1/61/pdf

The impact of the built environment on motivating and facilitating uptake of sustainable lifestyles

  • Sassi P. (2015) Progressive essentialism: built environment development approaches for increasing participation in sustainable developments and lifestyles. 31st International PLEA Conference: Architecture In (R)Evolution. 2015. 9-11 September 2015, Bologna Italy.
  • Sassi P. (2014) Does the design of the built environment have a role in motivating and increasing participation in creating sustainable communities and living sustainable lifestyles? SB2014 Sustainable Building International Conference. October 2014 Barcelona, Spain


School of Architecture

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