The Women in Sustainability category at the Sustainability Awards aims to showcase and celebrate the contributions of women in the built environment industry. Some are architects, some are leaders, some are teachers and some are mothers. But all nominees and winners give much of their professional lives to architecture, and are applauded for their efforts.
A leader in sustainable design, Nadine Samaha was the winner of the relatively new category in 2020. An experienced architect and a trailblazer in regenerative design in Australia, the architect was championed by the judging committee and was rightly rewarded, receiving the ultimate accolade.
Nadine’s day-to-day consists typically of working with her team at her practice, Level AK, where she is a Senior Principal Architect. She also Chairs the Australian Institute of Architects’ Sustainable Architecture Forum, and is a lecturer on energy efficient and sustainable design (ESD) at RMIT. Between trying to meditate in the morning and walking in her local area through lockdown, Nadine is driven by passion, which is furthered by her LEED Green Associate accreditation and working with state and federal governments on legislation and building regulations.
Samaha says that her work as a lecturer is to ensure young and upcoming architects are equipped with the skills they need in order to be ready to take on projects in a world where sustainably-designed buildings are paramount to the longevity of the project itself and the wider world.
“It’s very, very important to teach designers ESD (Energy efficient and sustainable design) principles at a young age. I lecture once a week for the Building Designer course at RMIT, and I essentially try to give them a global idea of climate change, without scaring them too much,” she says.
“I aim to empower them with tools, like understanding a number of design principles, energy efficiency in our buildings and water harvesting, in the space of 12 lectures.
“With teaching as well, sometimes you’re learning yourself when researching for lectures on environmentally sustainable design.“
Siniat Australia is the official category partner of the Women in Sustainability category at the 2021 Sustainability Awards. Samaha says that the company’s sponsoring of the category outlines the company’s ideals towards shaping a sustainable future in Australian design, with women firmly at the forefront.
“For me it’s really sad you cannot actually really celebrate, it’s all within your home basically, but I think it’s really lovely that Siniat is sponsoring the category,” she says.
“I’m not saying men are not caring, but I think most of the time that women, maybe because we give life, that we probably care more for our projects and our surroundings.”
“I'm probably able to undertake the roles that I currently work within because I’m a bit older, my kids are grown up and I have a grandson! So, to be able to share my knowledge and wisdom with others, while I don’t expect to be awarded for it, I think it’s wonderful to be recognised for doing so.”
Architecture & Design’s Sustainability Awards returns for another year in November 2021. For more information, visit sustainablebuildingawards.com.au.