Teodora Stojanovic – Exploring the Future of Mass Timber
The construction industry has a significant impact on our planet, and the use of sustainable materials like mass timber can significantly reduce this impact. In this interview, we speak with Teodora Stojanovic, structural design intern about her inspiration for pursuing a career in structural design and her focus on mass timber. Teodora shares her experiences and insights on the challenges of studying structural design, the role of technology in mass timber design, the future of mass timber in the construction industry, and advice for students starting in the field.
What inspired you to pursue a career in structural design, and why did you choose to focus on mass timber specifically?
Structures are all around us, and my inspiration to pursue a career in structural design came from my desire to understand them and how they work. While studying and learning more about the construction industry, I also discovered the scale of the impact it has on the environment and our planet. More importantly, I realized how that impact can be significantly reduced by including mass timber in structural designing. Mass timber is not only sustainable, but it also offers a range of advantages over traditional building materials, such as steel and concrete.
What have been some of the biggest challenges you have faced while studying structural design, and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge I faced while studying was envisioning problems in practice that I would be dealing with as a structural engineer. I wanted to get a firsthand look at all the factors and causes that make this profession as challenging and important as it is, and this internship was the best way to introduce myself to everyday problems and uncertainties that every structural designer is facing.
What role do you think technology and digital tools play in the future of mass timber design, and how do you see them evolving in the years to come?
Using technology and digital tools is already considered the norm in mass timber design. It revolutionized the process of designing when it gave engineers an option to work with a 3D model of a building before it’s made, which only led to making fewer mistakes, trying different solutions, and having better communication with other members of a project. All that while not having any consequences on the actual process of building. In the future, I expect more software with an even more detailed approach to make the whole process as efficient as possible.
What do you see as the future of mass timber in the construction industry, and how do you see it impacting the design and engineering of buildings and structures?
Design and engineering need new innovations because the construction industry is to blame for many problems that occurred in the last few decades and that are rapidly growing. The solution to that is found in mass timber, and new technologies and building techniques that are coming with it are surely causing a big change in the design approach. Building with mass timber implies that the structure is more an assembly of parts and is very different from the design and construction of more traditional buildings.
What advice would you give to students who are just starting out in the field of structural design and are interested in mass timber?
Since mass timber is getting recognized more and more every day and being tested as it tries to compete with concrete and steel, there is new information about it every day. My advice is to keep up with the news, read about advantages and disadvantages, and get inspired by all the possibilities that building with timber offers.
What do you see as your next steps after you complete your studies?
After I complete my studies, I want to be a part of as many new and challenging projects as I can be. Implementing and using all of the benefits of mass timber through designing, working with my team, and learning from them is my main goal.