She walked away with the prize money after her project was picked as the winner under the next generation category for the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction Awards.
Making the country proud: Teo explaining about her project to Ralapanawa (right) at the awards presentation event. (source: The Star, 30 Dec 2008)
Her project was on flooding and water pollution involving the Suzhou Creek in Shanghai, deemed as one of the most polluted rivers in the world.
"Now with this prize money, I will be able to do more research on other projects in Malaysia," Teo said at the award presentation ceremony in New Delhi.
Teo who hails from Kuching said that the project was part of her thesis for her digital architecture degree at her university in Taiwan. She is now pursuing her masters.
"I spent one year doing the research on the river in China," Teo said, adding that she had won several other awards before and all her prize money went to her studies and research.
Teo was among two Malaysian teams, which won prizes at the event which involved about 5,000 entries from 90 countries.
There were 15 entries from Malaysia alone.
The other Malaysian team, which won the Next Generation encouragement prize comprised five students from Universiti Teknologi Malysia (UTM).
Team leader Ho Ching Keng, 21, said that he and his team-mates never expected to win as they only found out and submitted their project few days before the submission date.
"We really worked as a team to ensure our project was finalised and submitted on time," he said, adding that their project involved a shading mechanism to grow trees in urban areas surrounded by buildings and also in harsh conditions.
" We gained a lot of experience through this and are determined to continue working harder," Ho said, adding that competitions such as this promoted teamwork.
A total of USD$270,000 (RM972,000) worth of prizes were presented to ten projects that showed future-orientated and tangible approaches to urban renewal and development, energy efficiency and affordable housing.
Holcim Foundation management board chairman and CEO of Holcim Limited Markus Akermann said that the foundation, which started five years ago, was set up to bring into focus the many opportunities and benefits of adopting sustainable approaches within building projects and processes.
Holcim Malaysia Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Mahanama Ralapanawa who was present at the event congratulated both teams and hoped more teams would take part in such events in the future.
The Swiss-based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction conducts the competition in parallel across five regions of the world.
The competition aims to promote sustainable responses from the building and construction industry to technological, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural issues.