Co-funded by:
Mentored by:

We need to learn to understand nature

Alberto Quintana Gallardo, visiting researcher at InnoRenew CoE

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

I have lived all my life in Valencia, Spain. I have spent time in other parts of the world, but not for more than three months. I am currently living in Izola as a part of my postdoctoral project. I’ll be here for a year and then I’ll go back to Valencia.

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

I have kind of a mixed background. I did my bachelor’s in Technical Architecture, a degree in the boundaries of engineering and architecture. I chose it because I wanted to do something that combined both humanities and engineering. After that, I did a Master’s in Acoustic Engineering. As a musician, I wanted to learn more about the relationship between sound and architecture. In the case of my Ph.D., circumstances led me to write a thesis on sustainable architecture and Life Cycle Assessment.

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

In general, I try to do my bit for a more sustainable world, especially when it comes to buildings and cities. I evaluate how buildings and building products affect the environment and the society around them. My other area of expertise is architectural acoustics. I collaborate in the design of theatres and other performance spaces.

  • What does your typical working day look like?

I try to start early, but I always fail, so I end up starting at 9:30 am or so. Most of my work is done using a computer. What I actually do varies a lot; I might analyse results from some acoustic testing, work on the LCA of a product or write text for a paper or a report… I also have meetings, tonnes of them. I usually finish around 17 am.

  • What makes you excited about your work?

Being able to learn something new every day. Not many jobs outside of academia allow you to be constantly learning. It can be challenging at times but rewarding in the long run.

  • And what is the biggest challenge at your work?

Finding the right balance between work and my free time. This kind of profession can be pretty absorbing.

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

I am fascinated by the progress many scientists are making in understanding non-human intelligence, especially the work focusing on fungi and the mycelium networks. If we learn to understand nature, we’ll be able to treat it better.

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

My favourite book is “Fictions” by the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. This book helped me go through some difficult times, especially during the lockdown. Every time I read it, I feel as if he was speaking to me.

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

I have just finished reading the book “Panza de Burro” by Andrea Abreu. She tells a beautiful story about growing up in the Canary Islands. I have also been watching “One Piece”, a very famous Japanese anime. I did not watch it as a child, but I am really enjoying it as an adult.

  • Describe your very first impression of Slovenia.

When I first arrived to Slovenia three years ago, I was surprised by how beautiful the coast of Slovenia is. I felt as if I was in a Hayao Miyazaki movie.

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

I love how friendly and polite people are here. I miss eating paella on Sunday with my family.

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

My favourite place is the area around the port of Izola. It has arguably the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.

  • What makes you enthusiastic?

Having a good conversation, if possible, with a beer.

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

Learning makes me happy. I try to organize my life in a way in which I get to learn every day.

  • What does the charm of wood mean to you?

Wood, for me, is the key to a more sustainable future. The key to mitigating climate change and providing high-quality and sustainable homes for everybody.