Trent Learning Square, Nottingham

Every individual is a story in itself. Every story revolves around the journey an individual undergoes in life. It is fascinating for me to have met thousands of individuals in my two and half decades of journalism career. I feel so blessed for my father to have gifted me the art of writing. Weaving with words, as I bring another GEN Z story for our esteemed global readers and professionals, I feel fortunate to have met and interacted with all the creative individuals from all across the world in various fields.

Welcome to Trent Learning Square

The GEN Z Series takes a flight from Gauteng in South Africa to land in the picturesque Geneva, Switzerland to meet Noémie Läng, a 2023 graduated Master in Architecture and Sustainable Design architect from University of Nottingham, UK. She comes across a passionate and creative individual with an interesting story to share about her journey. Noémie Läng discloses, “I grew up with my mother and my younger brother in Geneva, Switzerland. My mother was a project manager and is now a crypto currency specialist. She is a very intelligent person, who has always pushed me and my brother to question everything and to live proactively.  I am very fortunate that she encouraged me to be independent and to travel since I was young (smiles).”

Having completed her B. Arch from Swiss Design Center école d’architecture d’intérieur et design, Lausanne in Switzerland – Noémie Läng travelled across Costa Rica, Thailand, South Korea, Indonesia and the USA. She reveals, “Pursuing my love for travel and learning languages, I did a year of traveling and volunteer work in various nations. The experience was great, insightful and fulfilling, as I realized that learning about sustainability was my next objective.” She pursued her Master in Architecture and Sustainable Design at the University of Nottingham in 2022 to graduate in 2023.

Site Analysis – Site Plan

Noémie Läng is a committed soul and states, “I am passionately committed to making a positive impact in the field of sustainable architecture. Currently, I am furthering my knowledge and expertise by pursuing a certification as a Passive House Designer / Consultant.” Johnny D interacts with Noémie Läng to explore her amazing story in the field of architecture and her thesis ‘Trent Learning Square, Nottingham’.

What was your childhood ambition? Did you always wanted to become an architect? 

I have always wanted to work as an architect. I can still remember, as a 12-year-young and drawing plans of my multiple dream houses to live in with my future husband and children, while all my friends were drawing funny things or colorful landscapes (smiles).

Floor Plans

How has architecture influenced your life as a student?

During my studies, I found that the design mindsets learned extend beyond the field of architecture. It has definitely influenced me to observe, explore and collaborate more, as well as being more creative in all the other areas of life. I have also built more resiliency and adaptability through my years of architecture school. Architecture involves ethical considerations related to sustainability, social responsibility and the impact of design on communities. These ethical principles guided me to make more socially responsible choices in my personal life.

Entrance Lobby

Briefly tell us about your University and the Masters’ Course.

At the University of Nottingham in the UK, I completed M. Arch in Architecture and Sustainable Design. The Master’s Course is very focused on sustainable design strategies and their implementation in studio work. The Master’s Course was one full year with 120 credits worth of modules with an option class on renewable energy and energy efficient technologies. Emphasis was placed on selective use of performance prediction tools (i.e. computer simulation and physical model testing) to enhance the design decision-making process.

I learned IESVE, Passive House PHPP tool, Climate Consultant and OneClick LCA. The summer semester was focused on producing a 60-credit supervised dissertation. My research was titled Improving Biodiversity in the Built Environment: A Study Investigating Façade Solutions and their Impact on Local Biodiversity.

Form Concept

Briefly describe the significance of your project with the ‘Title of the Project and Site Location’.

The project ‘Trent Learning Square’ is a primary school expected to offer places for children from the age of 4/5 through to 11. The project’s overall aim is to design a school building that outperforms the current norm environmentally, spatially, technically and socially – A sustainable school delivering visual, thermal and acoustic comfort, functional adaptable spaces and energy efficiency. In order to achieve this, the design carefully considered and integrated the following elements: daylight and sunlight benchmarks, solar-gains, orientation, ventilation, envelope and materials, spatial quality and delight, spatial flexibility, varied occupancy patterns and educational needs.

Sustainable Strategies Site Plan

The goal was to get around all the main ideas behind sustainable passive strategies studied and was organized in pair work. The school is located in the Trent Basin housing development in Nottingham, which is a part of SCENe, a national pilot project that accelerates the adoption of community energy systems in the UK. It was important that the school supported a strong Trent Basin neighborhood identity, as well as individual classrooms identities for the pupils to have a feeling of belonging.

Site Plan

The concept was designed by the form and materiality, while examining the environmental performance and sustainable qualities of each design choice. Through the countless calculations, analysis and software simulations testing, the design achieved CIBSE and ASHRAE requirements as well as Passive House heat demand requirements.


Which National or International architect has inspired / influenced you? Please specify as to why?

I am much inspired by architects, who ingeniously use wood or bamboo, such as Kengo Kuma, Shigeru Ban, Ibuku and Vo Trong Nghia. I tend to navigate towards simple, elegant and contemporary designs. Of course, Swiss architects like Peter Zumthor, Herzog & de Meuron, HHF architects and Local architecture has truly inspired my work during my projects throughout university studies.


As an Intern, what is the most important lesson(s) you have learned from senior architects, while being a part of a project?

It is not required to do an internship in the bachelor’s degree in Switzerland. However, I did one as a young scholar before my architecture bachelor’s degree. One of the main take away was how having a keen eye for detail and precision is a necessary quality as an architect. Being taught this lesson by senior architects, it impacted me positively during my studies and design work.

A Classroom

During my internship, I also saw how senior architects collaborated with other team members, including engineers, contractors and consultants. I rapidly learned the importance of developing strong collaboration skills, understanding the interdisciplinary nature of architecture and fostering positive working relationships with colleagues.

Summary Passive Strategies

Will the younger generation of architects make innovative changes to mitigate the catastrophic effects of Climate Crisis? Elucidate your perspectives.

With the increasing awareness of environmental issues, the younger generation of architects will absolutely make responsible changes in the design practices. When I first started studying sustainable design, I felt very frustrated at the slowness of that transformation towards environmentally conscious choices. I believed and still do, that many passive design principles were so simple that they should be studied during the undergraduate program.

Ventilation Analysis Classrooms

However, as I started to gain knowledge about it, the more I saw, I realized there was so much more for me to learn about it. I currently do feel more hopeful about it, since I became aware of all the new research, tools, simulations software, sustainable design methodologies, recommendations and guidelines.

Exterior View

Which significant aspects of the global platform ‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ did you liked the most, and why?

I am truly impressed by the GEN Z Series of ‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ It is uncommon to find resources that offer students and graduates the opportunity to showcase their work and talents. The content on the platform is really relevant and informative. I particularly appreciate the fact that many articles emphasize on sustainability topics.

Thermal Comfort Analysis Classrooms

Local charm of cities has diminished due to Modern Architecture as every city looks alike and similar. How should architects / urban planners / landscape architects modernize cities, while maintaining the local charm intact?

Balancing modernization with the preservation of local charm is a significant challenge for architects, urban planners and landscape architects. Considering the history, culture and architectural heritage of the area, while designing new structures or spaces is important. Therefore, the background research at the beginning of any project should be done thoroughly. This investigation facilitates the inspiration and incorporation of design elements, building techniques and aesthetics that resonate with the region’s architectural legacy.


Looking at the past in the current present, what are the futuristic architectural changes you would like to see in your home city / town? Elucidate the reasons for your vision.

I am from Geneva, the most populous of the French-speaking cities of Switzerland. However, it is still a relatively small city that is developing rapidly. I would love to see more environmentally conscious projects built in Geneva. New eco-districts are being constructed and/or advertised. However, I would like to see real sustainable solutions applied and not green-marketed developments.

PHPP Requirement & Energy Balance

As a wealthy city, Geneva has the opportunity to improve rapidly, for instance Passivhaus principles driving projects would be very suitable in Geneva, or Switzerland in general. On a more personal level, I would love to see more creative and aesthetics design in Geneva. The city still lacks vibrant and fun interior spaces, like trendy cafes, restaurants and art spaces.

Moment of Pride

Image Courtesy : Noémie Läng

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *