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There is always something new to discover

Stephan Ott, visiting researcher at InnoRenew CoE

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

I grew up in a small town in southwest Bavaria, Germany. Now, I am living close to Nuremberg in the north of Bavaria.

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

I studied architecture because this was, at that time, an ideal combination of aesthetic design work, engineering, and developing something from scratch with a lot of creativity and the opportunity to make a vision and some sketches real.

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

Improving the quality of buildings and construction products, so that they cause no harm to the environment and humankind.

  • What does your typical working day look like?
    • Turn on the computer, get a quick overview of the tasks of the day, and note my daily milestones
    • Then start reading or writing; after one and a half hours, I need a break and have to go around a few steps or do some exercises to relax the muscles from long sitting
    • Then I continue to read or write.
  • What makes you excited about your work?

There is always something new to discover and to dig deeper into.

  • And what is the biggest challenge at your work?

Not to lose the hope that some of my findings are helpful for the next generations and to keep our planet a lively place.

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

Books: Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit;

Music: Igor Levit playing Beethoven’s piano works, especially the Waldstein Sonata

Film: Igor Levit – No Fear; documentary from 2022

Art: Philipp Fürhofer, Phantominseln / Phantom Islands, painting and installation – questioning the existential, reciprocal influence of humans and nature (exhibition in Städel Museum, Frankfurt)

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

Podcast: Timothy Snyder – “The Making of Modern Ukraine” Yale lecture series.

Book: If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura

  • Describe your very first impression of Slovenia.

The inland doesn’t look so different from Bavaria, and I was astonished by the huge, forested areas.

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

Like: the pragmatic and hands-on approach to find a solution

Miss: German bread 😉

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

The peninsula of Izola with the church and tower on top and the views through the small ways where you can see the marina and the boats.

  • What makes you enthusiastic?

Being in the countryside with no roads, only small footpath and a lot of green around me, and discovering something new and learn something new.

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

Stay curious, and be aware that “you can always imagine the opposite”.

  • What does the charm of wood mean to you?

Its smell and the warm haptics.