Associate Professor Paola Boarin

MSc (Architecture), PhD (Architectural Technology)


Dr Paola Boarin graduated with a Master of Science in Architecture from the Department of Architecture of the University of Ferrara, Italy, where she received also a PhD in Architectural Technology.

Paola joined the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland in 2015, where she is Associate Professor of Architectural Technology and Sustainability, School Director (Architecture Programmes) and the Architecture Technology and Sustainability Stream Leader. Paola is also the co-founder and inaugural co-director of the Future Cities Research Hub, whose aim is promoting research collaborations and cross-disciplinary approaches leading to evidence-based understandings and design innovations at the building and urban level.

Prior to her appointment at the University of Auckland, Paola collaborated with the University of Ferrara as Adjunct Professor of Architectural Technology and Environmental Design and as Research Fellow. There, she was also a member of the Architettura>Energia Research Centre, a research hub focussing on building sustainability and performance, where she played a key role in its establishment and development. 

Paola has been collaborating with the Green Building Council of Italy since 2011 by leading the development of sustainability rating systems as Chair of the Technical Advisory Group ‘Historic Building’ and Vice-Chair of the Technical Advisory Group (Academic) ‘Materials and Resources’. This collaboration resulted in the development and publication of GBC Historic Building®, the first and only rating tool assessing the level of sustainability of conservation-related interventions on historic buildings.

Her research addresses the links between architecture, technology and environment, with a focus on sustainable conservation, adaptation and retrofit of existing and heritage buildings, regenerative design and post-occupancy evaluation of buildings (new constructions and existing buildings, also with heritage significance) and the wider neighbourhood scale. She has extensively worked on the sustainable adaptation and energy retrofit of existing and heritage buildings, on the sustainable regeneration of historic villages and on the development of environmental sustainability assessment tools, particularly for preservation-related interventions on heritage and character buildings.

Paola is an invited member of the "Resilient Communities" Steering Committee of the Italian Pavilion at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale (La Biennale di Venezia) and member of the design team of the creative project "Learning from Trees: transforming timber culture in Aotearoa", a complex lattice-like 35 m2 timber structure currently exhibited in the Italian Pavilion.

Research | Current

Main research interests are:

  • Innovative approaches for sustainable restoration and adaptive reuse, with attention to assessment methods towards a holistic and integrated design process.
  • Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE) methodologies and their applications at building and neighbourhood scales.
  • Comprehensive and innovative approaches for existing buildings retrofit towards nearly-zero energy building standards, with particular attention to heritage and character buildings. 
  • Architecture education pedagogies, with a focus on sustainability and design technologies education.

Current research activities:

  • COST Action CA16114 - REthinking Sustainability TOwards a Regenerative Economy (RESTORE), a EU-funded programme supported by the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020 | 2017-2021 | Role: Representative of the University of Auckland  (COST International Partner Country), member of WG 1 and WG 3.
  • Learning from Trees: transforming timber culture in Aotearoa, a design project that will be exhibited at the 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale, Italy | May-November 2020 | Role: member of the University of Auckland Design Team.

Completed research activities:

  • National Science Challenge 11: Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities, Strategic Research Area - Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods where, a $2.5m research project funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and hosted by BRANZ | 2016-2019 | Role: Associate Investigator. Principal Investigator: Prof Errol Haarhoff.
  • Bridging the gap between environmental sustainability and heritage conservation in New Zealand, a research project funded under the Faculty Research Development Fund (FRDF) | 2017-2020 | Role: Principal Investigator. Associate Investigators: Assoc Prof Julia Gatley, Prof Mohammed Farid.
  • Progression of architecture graduates and women in the profession and practice of architecture in New Zealand: 1987-2017, a research project funded under the Faculty Research Development Fund (FRDF) | 2018-2019 | Role: Associate Investigator. Principal Investigator: Prof Errol Haarhoff.

Paola is the co-founder, together with Prof Errol Haarhoff, of a new Research Unit at the School of Architecture and Planning of the University of Auckland, the Future Cities Research Hub, of which she is also the inaugural co-director. 

Teaching | Current

  • ARCHTECH 208/210 - Environmental Design 1 (undergraduate, BAS);
  • ARCHGEN 753 - Diagnosis and Adaptation (postgraduate, MHerCons, MArch(Prof)HerCons, MArch(Prof), MUrbPlan(Prof)HerCons);
  • ARCHDES 701-702 - Adaptive Reuse (postgraduate, MHerCons, MArch(Prof)).

Postgraduate supervision

I am interested in supervising Master of Architecture (Research), Master of Architecture (Professional) and PhD theses related to:

  • sustainable heritage conservation and adaptive reuse of historic and character buildings;
  • climate-sensitive design, regenerative design and green buildings, ranging from existing buildings retrofit to high-performance new buildings;
  • post-occupancy evaluation processes and evidence-based design at the building and urban scales;
  • the links between architecture, technology and the environment;
  • architecture education pedagogies, with a focus on sustainability and design technology education.




Ongoing PhD supervisions as MAIN SUPERVISOR:

  • Jisun Mo, PhD in Architecture (Co-supervisor: Dr Alessandro Premier). Title: "Developing a new assessment system for analyzing environmental performance on the basis of the green building rating system".
  • Sameh Shamout, PhD in Architecture (Co-supervisor: Dr Sandeeka Mannakkara). Title: "Developing a framework to incorporate resilience thinking in existing building retrofits in Amman, Jordan".
  • Luis Medrano Gomez, PhD in Architecture (Co-supervisor: Dr Alessandro Premier). Provisional title: "Holistic approach for post-occupancy evaluation: mitigation of performance gap and rebound effect through user experience". 
  • Azra Shabbir Ahamed, PhD in Architecture (joint supervisor: Dr Farzaneh Haghighi). Provisional title: "Sustainable Social Housing Design: An Integrated Approach".

Ongoing PhD supervisions as CO-SUPERVISOR:

  • Jane Waterhouse, PhD in Architecture (main supervisor: Dr Alessandro Premier). Provisional title: "Aging in place: improving existing architectural design guidelines for elderly residences in New Zealand to increase quality of life".
  • Mugda Kulkarni, PhD in Architecture (main supervisor: AP Julia Gatley). Provisional Title: "The architecture and conservation of Maratha Sea Forts".
  • Candida Rolla, PhD in Architecture (main supervisor: AP Julia Gatley). Provisional Title: "The Cross-fertilization of ideas between New Zealand and overseas Heritage Architecture and Cultural Landscape Conservation".

Completed PhD supervisions

  • Priscila Besen, PhD in Architecture (2021) (co-supervisor: Prof Errol Haarhoff). Title: "Heritage for the future: Integrating Energy Retrofitting to Seismic Upgrades of Unreinforced Masonry Buildings in New Zealand".
  • Phillip Hartley, PhD in Architecture (2020) (main supervisor: AP Julia Gatley). Title: "Preserving the Modernist architectural heritage of New Zealand. How an understanding of design intent should inform conservation philosophy and practice".
  • Allan Balaara, PhD in Architecture (2019) (main supervisor: Prof Errol Haarhoff). Title: "Practice in theory, and the theory of practice : examining the place of climate and modernity in postcolonial architectural mediation in Ghana since the 1940s".



Completed Master's supervisions at the University of Auckland

  • Thomas Nieuwenhuis, MArch(Prof), 2020. Title: Relocation, Re-location: Locating a Separate Architecture".
  • Angelica Ramos, MArch(Prof), 2020. Title: An Architectural Response to Sea-level Rise. Re-examining the amphibious space as part of the public space of coastal neighbourhoods".
  • Michelle Chang, MArch(Prof), 2018. Title: "Beyond Brutal".
  • Jiaxuan Goh, MArch(Prof), 2018. Title: "A foreign affair. Re-thinking the exhibition typology with responses to industrial re-adaptation & the urban context".
  • Ellena Young, MArch(Prof), 2018. Title: "Beyond the shell: Interior adaptive reuse".
  • Jody Carlson, MArch in Sustainable Design, 2018. Title: "The integration of project management, quality and sustainable design to achieve sustainable project outcomes in New Zealand commercial building projects".
  • Cam McDermid, MArch(Prof), 2017. Title: "Ruins to riches: adaptation and conservation. Adaptive re-use of the Warkworth Cement Works ruins".
  • Umer Qaiser, MArch(Prof), 2017. Title: "Urban farming in hot desert and humid climates. A study on climate-sensitive and passive design for water harvesting and crop production".
  • Chunya Cai, MArch in Sustainable Design, 2017. Title: "Green School Design: a strategy for tropical developing regions".
  • Priscila Besen, MArch in Sustainable Design, 2016. Title: "Passive House in New Zealand: a comparison between predicted and real performance through post-occupancy evaluation".
  • Jui Nigudkar, MArch in Sustainable Design, 2016. Title: "Sustainable slum rehabilitation in Mumbai, India. Introducing Mumbai to energy efficient and sustainable slum rehabilitation".
  • Sameh Shamout, MArch in Sustainable Design, 2016. Title: "Energy retrofit of the existing building envelope in Jordan. A study on mixed-use buildings (retail and office) in Amman". 


  • Faculty Staff Excellence Award in Teaching and Learning, University of Auckland (2018).
  • Young Researchers Award, University of Ferrara, Italy (2013) | Research Project: SU.R.E.2 - Sustainable Retrofit for Energy and Environmental improvement of heritage buildings.
  • Honorary Research Fellow in Architectural Technology, University of Ferrara - Department of Architecture, Italy (2007). 
  • Young Researchers Award, University of Ferrara, Italy (2006) | Research Project: Observatory on environmental sustainability assessment of buildings.
  • Selected participant of the Academic Leaders Programme, University of Auckland, New Zealand (2018).
  • Selected participant of the Women in Leadership Programme, University of Auckland, New Zealand (2017).
  • Selected participant of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), U.S. Department of State (2013) | Topic: Climate Change and Clean Energy.


  • School Director (Architecture Programmes), 2018, semester 2 | July 2020 onwards.
  • Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning), Jan 2017 - June 2018 | July-Oct 2019.
  • Architecture Technology and Sustainability Stream Leader, 2016, semester 2 - current.
  • Associate Dean (Academic and Teaching and Learning), 2016, semester 2.
  • Member of the School Academic Teaching and Learning Committee, 2016, semester 1 and 2.
  • Co-ordinator of the Doctoral Thesis Proposal Reviews, 2016, semester 1.
  • Member of the School Postgraduate Committee, 2016, semester 1.

Areas of expertise

  • Restorative and regenerative design.
  • Design strategies for energy efficiency and environmental quality of the built environment.
  • Sustainable conservation and adaptive reuse of existing and historic buildings.
  • Climate change challenges in heritage buildings and sites.
  • Post-occupancy evaluations and audit procedures.
  • Existing buildings' sustainable retrofit and regeneration.
  • International rating systems for environmental sustainability assessment of buildings and neighbourhoods.
  • National and international policies for energy-efficient buildings.

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Leadership roles

  • Member of the International Steering Committee at the Association of Pacific Rim Universities' Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Hub (APRU-SCL) (2021-ongoing).
  • Founder and Chair of the National Scientific Committee on Energy, Sustainability and Climate Change at ICOMOS New Zealand (2020-ongoing).
  • Member of the International Scientific Committee on Energy, Sustainability and Climate Change at ICOMOS (2020-ongoing).
  • Board Member of the International PhD Programme in Environmental Sustainability and Wellbeing (lead University: University of Ferrara, Italy) (2020-ongoing).
  • Co-founder and Co-director of the Future Cities Research Hub, University of Auckland (2017-ongoing).
  • Co-leader of the Sustainable Urban Design Working Group of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Sustainable Cities and Landscape Hub (2017-ongoing).
  • Board Member of the Passive House Institute New Zealand (PHINZ) (2017-2018).
  • Member of the Organising Committee and Peer Review Committee of the 7th World Alliance for Arts Education Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, 22-25 November 2017.
  • Board Member of the International Scientific Committee of Recuperoeconservazione Magazine, De Lettera WP Publisher, Italy (2014-ongoing).
  • Chair of the Technical Advisory Group 'Historic Building' for the Green Building Council of Italy (2012 - ongoing).
  • Member of the Board of Professors of the Ph.D. in Architectural Technology, University of Ferrara – Department of Architecture, Italy (2012-2015).
  • Delegate of the Green Building Council of Italy at the LEED International Roundtable (2012-2014).
  • Vice-Chair of the Scientific Technical Advisory Group 'Materials and Resources' for the Green Building Council of Italy (2011-2015).

Reviewing, refereeing, judging activities

  • Member of the Editorial Review Board of the Smart and Sustainable Built Environment journal, Emerald Publishing, UK (2020-ongoing).
  • Reviewer for TECHNE - Journal of Technology for Architecture and Environment, Firenze University Press, IT (2020-ongoing).
  • Reviewer for Cities, Elsevier, UK (2019-ongoing).
  • Reviewer for the book series Sustainable Design, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, UK (2019).
  • Reviewer for the Passive Low Energy Architecture (PLEA) Conference 2018, Hong Kong (2018).
  • Reviewer for the Seismic and Energy Renovation for Sustainable Cities (SER4SC 2018), University of Catania, Italy (2018).
  • Reviewer for the South Pacific Passive House Conference 2019, Passive House Institute New Zealand, Wellington (2018).
  • Reviewer for Building and Environment, published by Elsevier, UK (SJR 2017: 2.169) (2018-ongoing).
  • Member of the Scientific and Reviewing Committee of the Passive Low Energy Architecture (PLEA) Conference (2017 edition: Edinburgh; 2018 Edition: Hong Kong).
  • Reviewer for the 51st International Conference of the Architectural Science Association (ANZAScA), Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, 29 Nov - 2 Dec 2017.
  • Reviewer for the Journal of Architectural Engineering, published by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) (ISSN (online): 1943-5568; SJR 2016: 0.255) (2017-ongoing).
  • Reviewer for the international journal Architectural Science Review, published by Taylor & Francis (ISSN: 1758-9622; SJR 2014: 0,718) (2017-ongoing).
  • Reviewer for Energy and Buildings, published by Elsevier (ISSN: 0378-7788; SJR 2015: 2,073) (2016-ongoing).
  • Reviewer for the Journal of Cultural Heritage, published by Elsevier (ISSN: 12962074; SJR 2014: 0,591) (2016-ongoing).
  • Reviewer for the open access journal Energies, published by Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) (ISSN: 19961073; SJR 2014: 0,856) (2016-ongoing).
  • Reviewer for the Journal Indoor and Built Environment, published by SAGE Publications (ISSN (online): 14230070; SJR 2016: 0,550) (2016-ongoing).
  • Reviewer of the journal ilProgettoSostenibile, published by EdicomEdizioni, Italy (2014).


  • Member of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Energy, Sustainability and Climate Change (2020-ongoing).
  • Member of the International Council on Monuments and Sites - New Zealand (2020-onwards)
  • Affiliate member of the Australia ICOMOS' National Scientific Committee on Energy and Sustainability (2020-ongoing).
  • Member of the New Zealand Institute of Architects (Academic category) (2019-onward)
  • Member of the Cluster for Sustainable Cities, University of Portsmouth, UK (2017-onward).
  • Member of the Architectural Science Association (ASA, former ANZAScA) (2016-ongoing).
  • Member of the Green Schools Advisory Group for Green Building Council of Italy (2014).
  • Member of the Educational Group for the Green Building Council of Italy (2012-2014).
  • Member of the Italian Society of Architectural Technology (SITdA) (2009-ongoing).
  • Registered Architect (Italy) and member of the Order of Architects, Planners, Landscape Designers and Preservationists, Province of Rovigo (Italy) (2006-ongoing).

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Boarin, P., Martinez-Molina, A., & Juan-Ferruses, I. (2020). Understanding students’ perception of sustainability in architecture education: A comparison among universities in three different continents. Journal of Cleaner Production, 24810.1016/j.jclepro.2019.119237
  • Bertagni, S., Boarin, P., & Zuppiroli, M. (2020). The Dialogue between Structural Interventions and Sustainability Criteria in Rating Systems for Cultural Heritage: The Experience of GBC Historic Building. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE, 14 (1), 139-161. 10.1080/15583058.2018.1511001
  • Boarin, P., Lucchi, E., & Zuppiroli, M. (2019). An Assessment Method for Certified Environmental Sustainability in the Preservation of Historic Buildings. A Focus on Energy Efficiency and Indoor Environmental Quality in the Italian Experience of GBC Historic Building. Restoration of Buildings and Monuments Materials science, Conservation of architectural heritage, Sustainable construction, online first10.1515/rbm-2017-0006
  • Shamout, S., Boarin, P., & Melis, A. (2019). Energy Retrofit of Existing Building Stock in Amman: State of the Art, Obstacles and Opportunities. In C. Alalouch, H. Abdalla, E. Bozonnet, G. Elvin, O. Carracedo (Eds.) Advanced Studies in Energy Efficiency and Built Environment for Developing Countries (pp. 133-145). Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature. 10.1007/978-3-030-10856-4_14
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Sameh Shamout
  • Martinez-Molina, A., Boarin, P., Tort-Ausina, I., & Vivancos, J.-L. (2018). Assessing visitors' thermal comfort in historic museum buildings: Results from a Post-Occupancy Evaluation on a case study. Building and Environment, 132, 291-302. 10.1016/j.buildenv.2018.02.003
  • Belpoliti, V., Bizzarri, G., Boarin, P., Calzolari, M., & Davoli, P. (2018). A parametric method to assess the energy performance of historical urban settlements. Evaluation of the current energy performance and simulation of retrofit strategiesfor an Italian case study. Journal of Cultural Heritage, 30, 155-167. 10.1016/j.culher.2017.08.009
  • Castaldo, V. L., Pisello, A. L., Boarin, P., Petrozzi, A., & Cotana, F. (2017). The experience of international sustainability protocols for retrofitting historical buildings in Italy. Buildings, 7 (2), 1-21. 10.3390/buildings7020052
  • Martinez-Molina, A., Boarin, P., Tort-Ausina, I., & Vivancos, J. L. (2017). Post-occupancy evaluation of a historic primary school in Spain: comparing PMV, TSV and PD for teachers' and pupils' thermal comfort. Building and Environment, 117 (May 2017), 248-259. 10.1016/j.buildenv.2017.03.010