Master of Architecture student Eloise Blewden crowned Future Thinker of the Year for 2022

30 May 2022

The annual award, run by the New Zealand Green Building Council, acknowledges a student or young professional who demonstrates environmental knowledge and leadership, and recognizes their success and passion for greener, better buildings.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to receive the award,” Eloise said.

“ There are so many opportunities to collaborate with organisations like NZGBC, to further embed sustainability in our university courses. I’m excited to work with the Future Thinkers network and the other finalists and help inspire change for our students and young people entering the industry.”

This year’s finalists; Eloise, Megan Burfoot, Jasmine Fletcher, and Kim Mi Yeoh, each presented their vision for Aotearoa at the awards evening held last Thursday at Mott MacDonald’s Auckland office, the 6 Green Star rated Mason Bros building.

From left to right: Meredith Dale, Kim Mi Yeoh, Megan Burfoot, Jasmine Fletcher, Eloise Blewden


“For the fourth year in a row we have been inspired by a talented group of people with passion and vision to champion change. This year’s finalists showcased diverse experience and big ideas for building understanding and action on climate change, including digital technology, nature based solutions and regenerative outcomes,” said Warner Brunton, Mott MacDonald’s built environment - building services and sustainability leader.

“Eloise articulated a clear vision for how to drive change through education, and we support her using this platform and the Future Thinkers network to drive meaningful outcomes.”

Sponsored by Mott MacDonald and Warren and Mahoney, the award forms part of a calendar of events put on by the NZGBC’s Future Thinker network for students and young professionals.

“We are really fortunate to have such talent coming through our tertiary institutions and entering our industry. A huge congratulations to all our finalists and our new Future Thinker of the Year Eloise Blewden. There are some wonderful ideas and inspiration to be had from our future leaders,” said associate principal and group lead of sustainability at Warren and Mahoney, Fiona Short.

Joining Warner and Fiona on the judging panel were Sam Archer, NZGBC’s director of market transformation, and 2021 Future Thinker of the Year Meredith Dale.

"The four finalists were inspiring, with clear and compelling ideas for positive change in our sector. This is a great opportunity for Eloise, and all our Future Thinkers, to connect, collaborate and build our growing community of Future Thinkers making positive change across Aotearoa," Meredith said.

As the Future Thinker of the Year, Eloise will have the chance to present and participate in numerous events and speaking engagements, including the upcoming Sustainable Housing Summit.

“We can’t wait to work with Eloise, and indeed all our finalists, to help champion their ideas. We’re fortunate to have such brilliant young people coming through and we’re thrilled to help provide a platform for them to learn, collaborate, and help build a better Aotearoa,” Sam Archer says.

Eloise Blewden

Eloise is a a fourth-year Master of Architecture student at Victoria University of Wellington.

“I am a passionate learner and environmentalist, and a green building enthusiast.

“I believe we need to approach climate action more holistically by focusing on change through education, which in turn will foster inter-generational change.

We have the knowledge and skills on how to design and build better for our people and planet. So let’s extend manaakitanga and teach our next generation of architects how to design and build this way, to prioritise kaitiakitanga.

I am campaigning for this very change within my own university by involving myself in conversations about integrating sustainability and green building papers into core courses.”

Eloise recently undertook a summer research project with WSP and Victoria University, focusing on carbon-neutral schools. Through this project she developed a package for schools to support them to calculate carbon emissions and implement material and behavioural actions to reduce their environmental impact.

“Schools are a great place to start as they are at the centre of our communities.”

You can view Eloise’s full application video here