Dr Priscila Besen

Affiliate of the Future Cities Research Hub | Lecturer


Priscila Besen is an Architect (BR) and lecturer in Architecture at Huri Te Ao AUT’s School of Future Environments. She is passionate about driving positive change through top-down and bottom-up initiatives to create a better, healthier, more liveable built environment for future generations. She holds a PhD and a Master of Architecture in Sustainable Design from the University of Auckland. Prior to moving to Aotearoa in 2015, she studied for a Bachelor of Architecture and Urbanism at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil, with an exchange at Parsons School of Design in New York. She taught environmental design courses at the University of Auckland and was previously a member of the Future Cities Research Hub at UoA. She is a certified Passivhaus Designer and a board member at the Passive House Institute NZ, and also a Homestar Practitioner. She has a background in thermal comfort, energy efficiency and sustainability research and practice. 

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