Dr Paola Sassi

Paola Sassi

Joint Programme Leader
Professional Diploma in Architecture



Paola is an architect specialised in sustainable design. In addition to jointly leading the Part II Architecture course at CAT, 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.

Paola has over 30 years of architectural practice experience mainly in Germany and the UK. As partner of Sassi Chamberlain Architects, she 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 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’, which was runner up in the RIBA International Book Award 2007 and has been translated into Italian and Chinese.


ARB registered Architect

Doctor of Philosophy in sustainable design (Title: Closed Loop Material Cycle Construction), Cardiff University

Post Graduate Certificate of Higher Education University of Nottingham

MSc in Advanced Energy and Environment Studies, Centre for Environment and Computing, University of East London

Diplom Ingenieur, Akademie der Bildenden Künste München, Germany

Professional bodies and external positions

Paola is a member of numerous international conference scientific committees and a regular referee for over fifteen academic journals. She has acted as an assessor for UK and international research funding bodies, and has been on six Advisory Groups for funded research projects. Paola was external examiner on six undergraduate and postgraduate courses in architecture and environmental design.

Research interests

  • Sustainable design practice
  • 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 publications

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. Republished in hardback for US market.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sassi, P. (2013) A natural ventilation alternative to the Passivhaus standard for a mild maritime climate. Buildings. 2013, 3(1), 39-56.

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

Sassi P. (in progress) An evolutionary psychology perspective of the built environment as a motivator for adopting more 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.