Architecture student crowned Future Thinker of the Year
Victoria University of Wellington’s Eloise Blewden has been recognised by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) at the NZGBC’s annual awards evening
The Future Thinker of the Year acknowledges a student or young professional who demonstrates environmental knowledge and leadership and recognises their success and passion for greener, better buildings.
Eloise, who is a fourth-year Master of Architecture student, won over judges – and beat three other contestants to the award– when she presented her vision for New Zealand.
“The four finalists were inspiring, with clear and compelling ideas for positive change in our sector,” said 2021 Future Thinker of the Year Meredith Dale, who was a judge at the event “This is a great opportunity for Eloise and all our Future Thinkers to connect, collaborate and build our growing community of Future Thinkers making positive change across Aotearoa.”
As the Future Thinker of the Year, Eloise won the chance to present and participate in events and speaking engagements, including the Sustainable Housing Summit.
Eloise, a self-proclaimed “green building enthusiast”, is passionate about designing more sustainable buildings, but believes the path to a greener New Zealand starts in the classroom.
“I believe we need to approach climate action more holistically by focusing on change through education, which in turn will foster inter-generational change.
“We have the knowledge and skills on how to design and build better for our people and planet. So, let’s teach our next generation of architects how to design and build this way, to prioritise kaitiakitanga (guardianship and protection of the environment).
“I am campaigning for this very change within my own university by involving myself in conversations about integrating sustainability and green building papers into core courses.”
In addition to her work on campus, Eloise carried out a research project with WSP consultancy and Victoria University which focused on helping schools implement behaviour actions that reduces their environmental impact and allows them to become carbon-neutral.
What the future entails
So, what will 2022’s Future Thinker of the Year focus on moving forward?
“I have always been passionate about holistic sustainability and, throughout the course of my degree, have started to direct this passion into sustainability within the built environment. I am interested in low carbon, low waste, prefabricated and passively designed buildings. I aim to delve further into the green building field next year when I complete my thesis.”
Under Construction has recently highlighted several research projects that green building enthusiasts might find interesting. . Earlier this year, a University of Canterbury study found that seaweed could be used in a new plasterboard product.
Andy (Mihong) Park, a student at the university, won a $20,000 commercialisation award to continue research and development of his seaweed plasterboard.
Meanwhile, research has began into the use of 3D printed concrete to create for sustainable buildings.