Victoria University Prize for Building Science awarded to Be. Leadership Alumna Beth Noble

21 April 2016

 Johanna Merwood-Sailsbury, Head of School of Architecture and Beth NobleLast month Be. Leadership Alumna Beth Noble was awarded the David Sievwright Memorial Prize in Building Science by the School of Architecture at Victoria University.

Congratulations Beth - We are very proud of your achievement! 

We asked Beth to tell us more about the award, her studies over the past few years, and where she is heading in the future. Read more about Beth’s journey below:

Beth Noble has been interested in buildings, and how they fit together and work, for a long time. Beth started in the Architecture programme at Victoria University in 2012, and after the combined first year decided to complete a Bachelor of Building Science, and graduates next month.

Beth is really passionate about Human Environmental Science- looking at how the indoor environment (factors such as lighting, acoustics, thermal and comfort) affects users. Another area of interest for her is Building performance (materiality and how buildings perform over time in the New Zealand climate).

At the end of her final undergraduate year Beth was not only given a Graduate award but was also encouraged by her faculty to apply for the Summer Scholarship programme. Beth was accepted for a project funded by BRANZ looking at Building Performance and has been asked to write an article based on her findings.

At the beginning of this year Beth received an invitation to an "Awards and Scholarship Evening". She assumed it was for her Summer Scholarship and Victoria Graduate Award, but when she talking to a friend the day before who had also received the same honours, she realised that her friend hadn't been invited. So she actually didn't have any idea why she was going along!

At the awards evening Beth learned that she had been nominated by the Dean of the Faculty for the "The David Sievwright Memorial Prize in Building Science". The prize is awarded to a student enrolled in the Masters of Building Science Programme on the basis of academic performance, and who helps to promote and encourage the study of Building Science. Well done Beth!

Beth is now in the first year of her Masters, and next year she will write her thesis. Beth is hoping to look at autism and sensory processing in the built environment. 

Beth told us "There's not a lot of solid research out there addressing this – and what there is tends to be focussed on specialist residential schools overseas, and are generally observational studies of profoundly autistic children. Because of this, I'm interested in doing the opposite – working with high-functioning autistic adults. I’m interested in clarifying the issues that autistic people find in buildings – lighting, acoustics, etc. At the moment, what form this is going to take is still under construction, but I'm really excited about it. 

There's a lot of anecdotal knowledge already about what causes difficulty (lights that flicker, too much background noise), but this hasn’t really been quantified. And I hope that by starting to quantify it, I can later start to look at what might be able to be done about it, and also then have the evidence to back up changing the way we design buildings in general."

We are really proud of what you have achieved so far Beth, and look forward to following your journey. 

You can find more about our Be. Leadership programme on our website.