Dr Harpreet Seth


Director of Studies Architecture
School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society
04 435 8700
Harpreet Seth


Teaching Experience

Dr Harpreet Seth has been an associate and assistant professor for past 15 years at various colleges and universities in the UAE. She has taught a variety of courses to students from first to final year. 

Academic Leadership

Director of Studies for Architecture (DOS), 2015-2017

Chair for Head of Architecture Presentations at HWUDC, 2016

Project Leader (Architecture) for International Competition Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME 2018), 2016-2018

Team Leader for Organising Committee for the RIBA Board International visit to HWUDC, Successful candidates for RIBA, 2016-2017

Team Leader Infrastructure/Resource Development: architecture studios, workshop, public exhibition spaces, resource room, equipment and software’s for Architecture, 2015-present 

Co-Project Leader for Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) International Collaborative Design project “Polyark 4”, 2016-2017

Board Member for External EGIS Academic Review and Auditing, 2016

Project Leader for national collaborative design competition at Dubai Design Week, d3, Designing the Void, 2016

Board Member for assessment/selection of Assistant Professor, 2016

Chair for Architecture Recruitment and Marketing, 2015-present

Course Leader for Architectural Design Courses, 2015-present

Project Leader for three Architecture Design Showcases (Unhinged, Unboxing the Cube, Assemblage), 2015-present

Board Member Progression Exam/Assessment Boards, 2014-present

Chair for Student Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC), 2015-present

Year Coordinator for first, third year AE and first and second year Architecture

Team Leader for Design Course for CIBSE Accreditation, academic external engagement/workshops for students interested in joining the design-related fields. Started June 2002-present


Dr Harpreet Seth began teaching design and theoretical courses at Heriot-Watt University, Dubai in 2013, with teaching experience of more than 15 years at various colleges and universities in the UAE. 

Her education includes:

FHEA, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK Professional Standards Framework for Teaching and Learning Support in Higher Education, 2017

Doctoral Degree (PhD) in Architecture and Urbanism (PhD) from University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, 2013. Topic: Architecture as Signs and Symbols in Multicultural Iconographic Society of Dubai

Masters of Architecture (M.Arch.) with specialisation in Urban Design from School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India, 1992, 75%. Topic: Highway as a Barrier and its Integration in the city (Panipat, India)

Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) from Chandigarh College of Architecture, Punjab University, India, 1990, 75%. Topic: Development of Salarjung Museum, Hyderabad, India


Dr Seth's research interest continues to be the microcosm of built structures within the macro urban setting that is focused on people and creating more ‘liveable’ environments in townships in UAE, India and Africa.

The focus is on design elements that encourage barrier-free and sustainable communal environments; urban environments with the new ‘iconism’ in the young modern cities of the 21st century that address and challenge the notion of signs and symbols and identity of cities and its people; cultural identities and values that are diluted in the global culture of international cities such as Dubai.

The research has further expanded to spirituality in architecture addressing both the tangible and intangible aspects of design of spaces and user interaction within these spaces; the present-day education of architecture to understand the dilemma of the creative professions, wherein a gap may exist in artistic fulfilment and the glamorous projection of the profession by media, and the changing demands of the profession that is rapidly redefining itself.

Her current research is to better inform the decision and policy-makers with implementation strategies for positive interactions and experiences between people and built environment that leads to a rich healthy community living. This research is one of its kind in the region on ‘Biophilia’, which is mankind’s innate biological connection with nature that elicits a positive response, reducing stress, encouraging creativity and overall well-being. The topic is innovative and addresses the issue of integrating nature with the built environment in the context of an extreme climate. The study aims to be showcased as an innovative driving force behind new developments in the Gulf region, with UAE endorsing a national charter for happiness and positivity in 2016 to create an appropriate environment for happiness. The aim is to establish a positive social environment among all segments of society, to offer people an opportunity to live and work in healthy happy places and spaces. The study explores innovative mechanisms to articulate the relationship between nature, science and built environment. It will also provide evidence of the importance of human-nature connection in design research and design practice as cities continue to grow and urbanise. These patterns of biophilia will further strengthen the commitment to sustainable and innovative practices aiding developers, planners, urban designers, landscape architects, architects and interior designers. 

Research on Innovative Public Spaces in Smart Cities: “creating a barrier free smart city”, Challenges in imparting the “Concepts of Sustainability to Students of Architectural Design”, Draw the Line: “Artistic, Synoptic Responses to the Built Environs of Dubai”, has contributed to the field of architecture and urban design by informing the policy and decision-makers of the relevant changes that need to be addressed in our built environment, if we aim for the happiness and well-being of our citizens. Research focus has been a wake-up call for architects and designers in understanding the importance and impact of their role in people’s daily lives, their lifestyle and values. The research is important to enriching and improving the quality of life and well-being of people and surrounding community; encouraging a dialogue and sharing of ideas and experiences by researchers from different fields of expertise and countries.


PhD Thesis and Academics

Seth, H. "Architecture as Signs and Symbols in Multicultural Iconographic Society of Dubai" PHD thesis submitted and approved for award, University of Wolverhampton, UK, July 2013 Author.

Seth, H.  “Urban Diagnosis of Highway as a barrier and its integration in the city” Masters Thesis submitted and approved for award. School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India, 1991 Author


Shanqoo, S., Seth, H.  “Free Hand Sketching for Designers” a step by step guide for designers and amateurs on free hand drawing and sketching (under publishing) 150 pages + iv 2017 Co Author magazine and unrefereed articles

Seth, H. & Salian, N. "Where Culture Breeds Creativity", Architects Manupriam and Harpreet Seth’s vibrant home full of their children’s artworks, Property Weekly, Gulf News House Proud, July 2015 Co Author

Seth, H.  "Sandscapes an Art and Music Festival for a Cause", Published in Tabloid, Gulf News, Dubai, 2008 Author

Kalsi, J. & Seth, H."Interior Designers Abode"- A coverage of Seth’s residence, Highlighting Creative use of varied materials for residential interiors, Tabloid, Gulf News, 2004 Co Author

Monther & Seth, H. "Public Spaces in Shopping Centres", Grey Areas which need to be addressed by the Architects and Interior Designers, Gulf News, December 2003 Co Author

Seth, H. "Seascapes: A confluence of art and music" Published in the Entertainment Plus, Gulf News, 2003 Author

Seth, H. & Seth, M. "Highway as a Barrier and its Integration in the City: Research on impact of highways through cities for International Federation of Housing and Planning (IFHP), Berlin. Design parameters, Inside – Outside, July - August 1992 Co Author


Seth, H. Solar Decathlon Middle East 2018 (SDME) by Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, DEWA, and United States Department of Energy, 2016 Principal investigator (Architecture)

Seth, H. “Designing the Void” Report to Dubai Design Week, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority at Dubai Design District (d3) under the theme Design across Borders, September 2016 Author

Alawiya, A. & Seth, H. “Airports as Windows of their World”, a report submitted to Dubai Airport Authority, May 2003 Co Author

Seth, H. & Seth, M. "Contemporary Gwalior" A report on the urban form of historic city of Gwalior and its extension, Madhya Pradesh, India, January 1991 Co Author

Seth, H. "Parameters for Low Rise High Density Housing" A report on Low Rise High Density versus High Rise Low Density housing for the Urban Planning Authority, New Delhi, June 1991. Author

Seth, H. "Fabric of Housing" A report on Understanding the fabric of Housing Development for Delhi Development Authority (DDA) at Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, September 1991 Author

Seth, H. "Planning Standards: Their Application Implication on Urban Form of a city" A report on impact of building controls on built form. School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, November 1991 Author

Seth, H. "Urban Landscape of Residential Districts": A critical appraisal of the transforming urban form of West Patel Nagar, New Delhi, 1990 Author

Seth, H. "Museum Architecture: Research on the emerging trends in the design of Museums" Case study of the Salarjung Museum at Hyderabad, India. Museum as a cultural institution providing recreation and education, Chandigarh, 1990 Author

Seth, H. "Technology as a Determinant of Urban Form", A report on impact of construction techniques on built form. Chandigarh, India, 1989 Author

Seth, H. "Carpet Weavers and Technology: Varanasi" Critical appraisal of the Institute of Carpet Weavers of Bhadoi, India, 1988 Author

Seth, H. "Construction Techniques for High Rise Buildings", Chandigarh, India,1989 Author

Conference Papers Published as Proceedings

Seth, H. "Draw the Line: "Artistic synoptic responses to the built environs of Dubai”, Passive Low Energy Architecture (PLEA) Edinburgh 2017. Paper selected for final Author

Seth, H. “Challenges in imparting the concepts of sustainability to students of Architectural Design" International Energy and Environment Summit, Dubai, 2017. Author and Invited Speaker

Seth, H. " Innovative Public Spaces in Smart Cities: “creating a barrier free smart city” Science Collaboration Symposium on Smart Cities, Dubai, March 2017. Author

Seth, H. "New Iconism in young cities: A perspective from Dubai" 9th Making Cities Liveable Conference, Melbourne, An initiative of the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc., Poster presentation, June 2016 Author

Seth, M. & Seth, H. "Cognitive spaces in Educational Landscape: New Directions" Sheikh Hamdan Conference on Giftedness, Dubai July 2012 Joint Author

Seth, H. "Design Methods and Processes in Dubai", Design Methods and Processes, Islamic Azad University, Knowledge Village, Dubai, 9th January 2011. Author

Seth, H.. "Understanding Trends in Symbolism", IAEA CONGRESS – Dresden, Germany, 21ST Biennial Congress of International Association of Empirical Aesthetics, Dresden 2010 Author

Seth, H. "High Rise Buildings and Symbolism in Dubai”, HTTB 2010 Conference, Munchen, Germany, 9th International Conference for High-rise Towers and Tall Buildings, 2010 Author

Seth, H."Symbolism in Architecture: Trends in Urbanism", Sustainable Development – Reshaping The Cities, 3rd International Ajman Urban Planning Conference, Ajman University, Ajman, UAE, 6-8 April 2009 Author

Seth, H. "A Quest for identity – Architecture as Symbolism in Dubai", The Consideration of Space in Creative Practice. PhD Student Conference, Organized by the PhD research community The Centre for Art, Design, Research and Experimentation (CADRE), School of Art and Design, University of Wolverhampton, March 2009 Author

Seth, H. "Integrated Information Systems in the City of Dubai" Highlights and drawbacks of the information system in Dubai for tourists and residents during Dubai shopping festival and Dubai Summer surprises. International Conference for Information Design (IIID) at Lech, Austria, August 2003 Author

Seth, H. & Seth, M. "Highway as a Barrier and its Integration in the City: Impact of highways through cities", International Federation of Housing and Planning (IFHP), Berlin. Dec 1991 Co Author

Visiting Invited Scholar

BITS Pilani Teaching Learning Center (TLC), "Innovative strategies on teaching as applicable to engineering education", March 2017 Invited Scholar

Amity Design Summit, February 2017 Invited Scholar

D3 (Dubai Design District) press conference and D3 panel discussion “Designers as Cultural Leaders”, Dubai 2016 Invited Scholar

IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Women in Engineering; community talks, Dubai 2016 Invited Scholar

"Teaching practices in Architectural Education" Global Challenges Research Workshop , Dubai 2016 Invited Scholar

“Shifting Sands – Evolving role of women in educational leadership.” First Women in Educational Leadership Summit (WELS2016), Dubai 2016 Invited Scholar

“End Small Talk” Community Initiative to engage in meaningful discussions on critical community topics. Dubai and Abu Dhabi 2015-Till date Invited Speaker

“Architecture as a Profession: the Opportunities and Challenges” Seminars for young adults heading towards creative fields. College Admissions Dubai, 2016 Invited Speaker

AGA Khan Award for Architecture Seminar, Designing Local Contemporaneity, Innovation and Intervention in the Public Sphere, Boundaries Physical, Psychological and Conceptual, AUS, Dubai , 30th April 2009 Invited Scholar

Architectural Conservation between Theory and Practice, International Conference and Exhibition, Dubai Municipality in collaboration with UNESCO, DTCM, held at DICC, Dubai 14- 16 March 2004 Invited Scholar