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Supervisor: Dr Minna Sunikka-Blank

Maiss Razem


Research overview:

Building decarbonization relies on performance metrics to reduce material throughputs as they are produced. Rarely have LCA studies engaged with the nuances of how materials are consumed, urgently needed for sustainable material transitions. Shifting the focus away from supply-based efficiency metrics, this research aims to make visible socio-cultural factors shaping demand on materials and energy that have entrenched the use of unsustainable materials and reproduced energy-intensive practices. Importing nearly 96% of its energy with rapid urbanization rates, the research looks at Jordan to contextualize sustainable buildings efforts, especially when contemporary residential middle-income houses seem to draw from Western-inspired images, incorporating large glazed facades and open plans. Through examining how the materiality of Jordanian residential buildings, focusing on glazing and air-conditioners, became normative as they are designed, marketed, and used by householders, socially rooted norms and contextually specific co-evolutionary processes are unpacked. New data is collected using several methods: interviews with architects and green home clients, content analysis of advertisements of materials, and video diaries by householders living in ordinary mixed housing types (villas and flats). The research operationalizes practice theory as analytical framework to make visible hidden routines and meanings that co-constituted material linkages with ventilation and cooling practices. 



Maiss Razem received her Bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering from Jordan University of Science and Technology. Awarded the Fulbright scholarship, she completed her Master’s in architecture from Virginia Tech University, after which she practiced architecture, was accredited as LEED professional, and taught in universities for 15 years. Her research interests focus on unearthing intersections between, and agencies of, materiality and actors in constructing energy demand, investigating especially cooling practices. She is currently a third year PhD student and IsDB scholar.