Heriot Watt Professor receives Farabi International Award



Susan Roaf, emeritus Professor of Architectural Engineering at our University in Edinburgh has been selected as a winner in the foreign section of Iranian and Islamic Studies at the 11th Farabi International Award.

The award, given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Iranian Studies in the humanities and sciences in is held annually by the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology in collaboration with UNESCO and ISESCO and several domestic scientific and research centers.

Susan is known for her global reputation as a leading eco-designer and has an extensive career as a researcher, designer, author and thinker. Her ten years in the Middle East covered research on traditional technologies of desert lands, the anthropology of the nomadic tents of the Lurs and seven years as an archaeologist in Iraq. Her PhD was on the Wind catchers of Yazd, Iran.

The award ceremony was held on August 17th through an online virtual event due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus. In acceptance of the award Susan said I am deeply honoured to have been selected as a top researcher at the 11th Farabi International Award. The award helps promote the importance of Iranian humanities and sciences - and i think my own work demonstrates the legacy of the extraordinary skills of the traditional master builders of Iran - which have had a huge significance in designing for a heating world as they provide tangible examples of how to live in comfort in an extremely hot climate. We are now applying the same principles to tents, not only for the extreme cold for Antarctica, but also to tents in the desert for refugees. Many of the lessons I learnt came from my time living in a black tent with the Luri Nomads on two long migrations, so thank you for the experience and the award, I cannot tell you how much this means to me”.

Susan has also written many books on eco design and adapting buildings for climate change. Her recent article on opening windows to help stop the spread of coronavirus has been popular with readers. The article talks about the importance of ventilation and how by simply opening a window, can let the virus escape leading to a lower risk of infection.

For more information on Susan Roaf and her work, please refer to the resources below.

Written by Pooja Kirti

Communications and Engagement Associate