Bond appoints global expert in sustainable architecture to head environmental stream

October 9, 2018

The Abedian School of Architecture has further strengthened its environmental credentials with the appointment of an international expert in sustainable architecture and urban design, Dr Daniela Ottmann, to the role of Associate Professor of Architecture.

Dr Ottmann has extensive teaching, research and consultancy experience in Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Africa and China.

Her research and teaching interests focus on ecologically sustainable architectural and urban design strategies for future cities, new materials for bio-climatically sound buildings and research on affordable, modular, digitally-prefabricated housing, co-housing and slum-upgrading.

She began her career in architecture in Bavaria and Berlin, Germany and set up the German University of Technology’s Architecture Department in Oman, as well as working in Dubai and throughout the Arabian Peninsula as an architect on large-scale developments and master-planning projects.

One of Dr Ottmann’s greatest passions - apart from working together with students, government and the industry - is to establish new knowledge through research, and she has been published in numerous international publications.

She is currently finalising an Australian Urban Design Research Centre (AUDRC) project for the Western Australian Government on sustainable and affordable timber modular housing for seniors and the disadvantaged in Fremantle.

Dr Ottmann’s past research highlights include being Project Leader for a ‘University of Design Innovation’, where she developed a ‘fusion university’ and think tank responsible for revitalising downtown Las Vegas.

One of her most rewarding projects was the development and design of a kindergarten to benefit children and educators in the township of Gugulethu, South Africa.

At Bond University, Dr Ottmann will be conducting interdisciplinary research with her Psychology, Neuroscience and other Health Sciences & Medicine colleagues to explore the relationship between wellbeing and architecture, by identifying causes of ‘sick building syndrome’ and establishing means of designing ‘healthy buildings’. 

Dr Ottmann – who holds a Doctorate of Engineering from Germany’s University of Essen-Duisburg and a Masters of Architecture from the country’s top-ranking Architecture University, Berlin/Brandenburg Technical University (BTU) – is excited to bring her holistic approach and global experience to Bond.

“I am really looking forward to exploring the merging of sustainable materials and construction methods with new developments in advanced fabrication that Bond is involved in, including natural fibre and low emission concrete composites and 3D weaving robotics.

“I also plan to deepen my expertise in bio-climatic design strategies, creative co-design with communities and healthful architecture and materials.”

For Dr Ottmann, buildings are far more than structures and commodities to be traded on the commercial property market.

She is passionate about helping people understand that buildings are pieces of art, political statements, economic indicators, cultural achievements, environmental exemplars and glue that binds a society together.

“Buildings can provide a basic human need – shelter – but can also bring people away from the edges of society, out of poverty and improving their standing in society,” she said.

“There are miniature cities around the world currently making hugely positive impacts to the environment by being completely self-sustainable and even producing energy, filtered water and urban farming, as well as processing and recycling their own waste.

“Buildings are organisms that surround us and elements like perception of space, sustainable materials, natural lighting, ventilation and temperature have a massive impact on our health, wellbeing and quality of life.

“I am passionate about architecture and urbanism and enjoy nurturing the next generations of architects, so they can enjoy a fulfilling career and make meaningful contributions to societies that will stand the test of time.”

Professor Adrian Carter, Head of Architecture at Bond University, said Dr Ottmann brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Abedian School of Architecture.

“Daniela has a unique, holistic, international perspective on urban design and architecture - in particular with regards ecologically sustainable architecture - which is such an important part of the ethos of our education and the practice of architecture going forward,” he said.

“Our students and staff are very enthused at the prospect of learning from, and collaborating with, Daniela and benefiting from her extensive global experience, research and extensive international networks.”