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Home / INTERVIEWS / Face to Face: Dr Sandra Piesik

Face to Face: Dr Sandra Piesik

by Kim Kemp on Jul 1, 2015


Dr Sandra Piesik uses plant material for building sustainable structures.
Dr Sandra Piesik uses plant material for building sustainable structures.

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She also presented a case study titled: “A paradigm of agro-ecosystems of date palm oases understood in the wider context of economic and cultural ecosystems through transfer of knowledge and technology in the desert regions”.

Architects across the world have continued to press for greater sustainability with projects such as Zaha Hadid’s waste plant in Sharjah, Lord Norman Foster’s eco-friendly airport in Mexico and Richard Roger’s recycling plant in New York.

P&T Architects have also been at the forefront of sustainable design – and the firm’s Mahmoud Shahin said the UN adoption of Piesik’s project was a major step forward: “The problem is still that people look at sustainability from an expense point of view and this means recognition of it as an issue by the UN is important, as it becomes an obligation rather than just a design choice.”

But Piesik said still more needs to be done in order to convince local, regional and national authorities that sustainable design is the way forward: “We need long term thinking about the future. Organisations that have a mandate to promote sustainable and cultural development in the region need to offer a framework for implementation of the UN agenda on the ground.

“There are long term economic benefits that can derive from technological innovation and the circular economy model is very much adopted by industries across Europe. I would argue that the Middle East has its own circular economy model developed many thousands of years ago that is worth adopting to modern needs.

“We lack funding for further technology transfer and innovation, despite leading research and development in date palm technologies for the past seven years,” she add a little disconsolately.

“Looking at the picture of Dubai from 1950 with 4,000 palm leaf houses, accommodating 12,000 people, I think that back then recycling of date palm leaves was a grassroots movement, without policies and legislation and it would be great to see the same level of commitment today across all sectors of society on four corners of the world.”



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