Priscila Besen

Member of the Future Cities Research Hub | Certified Passive House Designer

Priscila is a PhD candidate and teaching assistant for environmental design courses in the School of Architecture and Planning. She has an interest in the application of sustainable design principles to a range of scales in the built environment, from individual buildings to neighbourhoods. She is a certified Passivhaus Designer and has background in thermal comfort and energy efficiency research and practice, as well as professional practice in architecture and urban design. She currently develops research about energy retrofit of historic buildings in New Zealand, focusing on unreinforced masonry buildings. Her past research also includes post-occupancy evaluation (POE) of certified passive houses and the application of POE to the neighbourhood scale.

Research interests:


  • Environmental design
  • Building energy retrofit
  • Passive House standard in temperate and warm climates
  • Post-occupancy evaluation
  • Sustainable neighbourhood design
  • Social and affordable housing

Research projects:

Integrating Energy Retrofitting to Seismic Upgrades of Unreinforced Masonry Buildings in New Zealand
Bridging the gap between environmental sustainability and heritage conservation in New Zealand
National Science Challenge 11 – Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods