UNSW has announced the appointment of international built environment expert and Professor of Energy Physics, Mattheos Santamouris to the inaugural Anita Lawrence Chair in High Performance Architecture.

Dean of Built Environment Professor Alec Tzannes AM, said he was honoured to be naming a world-class leader in high performance architecture as the inaugural appointment to the Chair, the first of its kind in Australia.

According to Tzannes, Santamouris’ contribution to the advancement of the design sciences is of global significance and truly exceptional. With research interests in sustainability, technology and the invention of low energy materials that complement existing strengths in the faculty and within UNSW more generally, Santamouris’ expertise will provide UNSW’s graduating students with a distinctive and highly relevant skill-set, enabling them to deliver more sustainable and liveable architecture in the future.

Santamouris is currently based at the University of Athens where he is the Director of the Laboratory of Building Energy Research. Formerly the President of The National Centre for Renewable and Energy Savings, Greece’s national body for the promotion of renewable energy sources and energy conservation, he is also editor in chief of Energy and Buildings, former editor in chief of the Journal of Advances in Building Energy Research and former associate editor of the Solar Energy Journal. He has been a visiting professor at the Metropolitan University of London, Tokyo Polytechnic University, National University of Singapore, Bolzano University, Brunel University London and the Cyprus Institute.

The Anita Lawrence Chair in High Performance Architecture has been established with a generous bequest from UNSW alumna and former Built Environment lecturer, Associate Professor Anita Lawrence.

Graduating as the University’s first female architect in 1955, she began a 32-year teaching career at UNSW specialising in acoustics and design. Also one of the founding members of the Australian Acoustical Society, Lawrence believes all built environment professionals should understand and value the practice of acoustics.

Tzannes praised Lawrence’s generosity in funding the Chair. Acknowledging her considerable academic and international acoustic research accomplishments, he said that the establishment of the Chair meant her academic contribution, philanthropic support, and overall service to the University will continue to be honoured in the future.

Santamouris said his main aim as Chair would be to mitigate the environmental impact of the built environment by decreasing the resources used by buildings. He explained that buildings accounted for around 40 per cent of the total energy consumption in developed nations.

Tzannes added that UNSW was now well placed to become an international leader in High Performance Architecture with the Faculty of Built Environment drawing on the established expertise of their national innovation hub, the CRC for Low Carbon Living, and the City Futures Research Centre, Healthy Built Environment program and Liveability Laboratory.