Researcher biography

Paola Leardini is a Senior Lecturer and the Technology Stream Leader in the School of Architecture at UQ and she was previosuly a lecturer and Technology Area Coordinator in the School of Architecture and Planning, NICAI, The University of Auckland 2007 - 2015. 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.


  • Member, Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities (2015-Current)
  • Member, Scientific Committee of New Zealand Academy of Applied Research (2016-Current)
  • Member, Australian Passive House Association (2018-Current)