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Between sustainability and design

Tatiana Abaurre Alencar Gavric, assistant researcher at InnoRenew CoE; main area of research: sustainable architecture


  • Where were you living in childhood and where do you live now?

I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and lived there until I was around four years old. At that age, my family and I moved to Saskatoon, Canada, where we lived for a bit over two and a half years. After that, we went back to Brazil for one year and again returned to Canada. This time, we went on to live for close to three years in Montreal.  By the time we returned to Brazil, I was around nine years old. I went on to stay in Rio de Janeiro until I completed my university studies and returned to Canada, once again, to get my master’s degree in Vancouver. I am now living in Ljubljana, Slovenia, for a little over five years.

  • What have you studied and what were the motives for your decision?

I got my bachelor’s degree in architecture and urban planning. My motivation was to do my part in helping reduce our impact as a society on the environment by designing and creating sustainable buildings and cities. So when I finished my bachelor’s degree, I went on to study in Vancouver, Canada, where I got a master’s degree in sustainable architecture and had the opportunity to learn the theory and practice of green buildings and biophilic design.

  • How would you describe your work to someone outside your field?

I would describe my work in sustainability as trying to create buildings and cities while being conscious about what these buildings are consuming, wasting and how they are influencing us while we use them. The way we build can be associated with a huge burden on the environment and people inside buildings, so creating buildings that consume less energy, less water, pollute less, waste less and contribute to making the people inside them feel good is something that everyone involved with creating cities and buildings should be thinking about.

  • What does your typical working day look like?

My work is currently divided between sustainability and design, which is my other passion.  My typical working day will involve going through my e-mails to keep up with tasks, doing research and designing graphic materials such as flyers, booklets, brochures, posters and so on.

  • What makes you excited about your work?

I love working with sustainability because I believe that it will have a very positive impact on people’s lives and on the environment. I also love working with design, so I am happy I get to do both.

  • And what is the biggest challenge at your work?

The biggest challenge is to always keep open to learning new things.

  • Which scientist or scientific achievement are you fascinated by and why?

There are so many fascinating scientific achievements; electricity, I believe, is one of the most fascinating ones as it completely revolutionized society and improved so much the way that we live.

  • Tell us about the work of art (books, music, movies, theatre, dance, visual arts) that has a special place in your life.

I love everything creative, especially painting and music. During my undergraduate studies, I was singing in the university choir, and it was something I deeply loved being involved in – we were singing at a few weddings, concerts and even recorded a CD. I also love drawing and painting and try to do that as much as I can during my free time.

  • What have you read, listened to, or watched lately?

The Call to Courage by Brené Brown.

  • Describe your very first impression of Slovenia.

My first impression of Slovenia was that it was small, cute and green.

  • What do you like about Slovenia and what do you miss most from your homeland?

I love that Slovenia is a peaceful and green country. I like the nature, lakes, parks and how safe I feel living here.

From Brazil, I miss the gorgeous sunny days, sandy beaches, gorgeous dresses, delicious food and warm friendly people.

  • Which place on the Slovene coast do you like the most?

I love Strunjan. I like that you have to take a small hike to get there and that the beach and scenery is so pretty and never too crowded.

  • What makes you enthusiastic?

Travelling, getting to see new places, learning about new cultures and trying new foods.

  • Characterize your life’s guidance or an important realization (or epiphany) you have experienced.

I have learned that we should always try to do our best while keeping true to ourselves.

  • What does the charm of wood mean to you?

To me, it’s the endless possibilities of what you can do with wood and the good that wood can do for us. From beautiful forests, the smell and touch of wood, unique forms and furniture, building materials and so much more.