Sylvia Coleman

Postdoctoral Research Fellow - Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design



Sylvia is a Postdoctoral Researcher with the Sustainable Built Environment Performance Assessment research group, at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. Her background is interdisciplinary, with undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and the Environmental Sciences, and graduate degrees focusing on Cultural and Sustainability aspects of Architecture.

Sylvia obtained her interdisciplinary PhD from the University of British Columbia's Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES) under Dr. John Robinson, joint with Dr. Ray Cole of the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. In her dissertation, she investigated a high performance regenerative case study building on UBC campus (the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability/ CIRS). Her research relied on social practice theory, to explore the development of sustainability awareness and practices, and the change in wellbeing, health and productivity of the building’s occupants. Sylvia employed both quantitative and qualitative methods and analysis through a pre-to-post occupancy evaluation protocol, in order to understand change in human factors before and after the move into the building.

Sylvia’s research culminates in a focus on the occupant experience, and methodologies for learning what that is. For buildings and spaces that are created for people, Sylvia is interested in the building from the occupants’ perspectives, or “from the inside out”. This expresses itself within architecture as an expertise with pre-and-post occupancy evaluation (Pre-OE and POE processes and surveys), and an exploration of the effect of built environment conditions and design strategies on occupants.

In industry Sylvia has worked as a Sustainability Researcher with Perkins+Will in Vancouver, and as co-founding partner of Recollective green building consulting. She has led or had a hand in diverse aspects of green building research and teaching, offering an understanding of research foci ranging from certification systems to LCA assessment and building material assessment for design strategies, to how design strategies enhance or hinder wellbeing, productivity and pro-environmental behaviour. Sylvia is thus well-placed for the interdisciplinary analysis and concept translation required in sustainable architecture and behaviour, and beyond.

Research Areas

Building occupant behaviour, wellbeing, health, productivity,
sustainability, social practices, social/ qualitative research, cultural and
social factors, building performance, post-occupancy evaluation, green

Cities of Focus

Toronto, Vancouver