The renowned architect on the new sustainable solutions
Vladimir Raynovski is the young scientist who won funding from the international company KLH for his mission to introduce timber hybrid buildings in developing countries by creating an economically competitive floor system that will gradually replace reinforced concrete buildings in order to reduce carbon emissions globally.
The principle of Raynovski Architects, co-founders of Studio-Hora and Lean Representative at STRABAG, is multi-tasking and proficiency in interdisciplinary fields which helps him discover sustainable solutions in every design and construction project.
A graduate of Lebanese School in Nigeria, VIA University College in Denmark, and Politecnico di Milano, Italy architect Vladimir Raynovski realised that the form-making in terms of design is exhausted and the future lies in sustainable design. To develop sufficient scientific knowledge, he obtained an additional degree in science and engineering for timber structures at Bern University in Switzerland and gathered perspectives for chasing his dream to make the world a better place by introducing more sustainable solutions in the construction industry.
Passionate about detailing and thinking how could he impact the construction industry for the better he became a PhD researcher in UIC-Spain where he discovered the potential of developing his own timber hybrid floor system that could change the construction industry in developing countries for the better.
Your Research and Development is on floor systems. How did you decide on that and why using timber?
Most of the buildings are designed on a grid system and this grid system is a function of the floor system. The floor system is the critical structural element that determines the size of the open spaces and the position of the verticals.
Timber is one of the most sustainable construction material, because it uses natural resources to grow (water and sun) and it purifies the air by transforming the CO2 emissions through photosynthesis.
The paradox is that most people think of timber buildings as harmful to nature, because of cutting of trees but in reality it’s exactly the opposite. Cutting timber to heat your house is harmful, because we return the CO2 emissions trapped in the timber back to the atmosphere while using timber for buildings is harmless, because we store the embodied CO2 inside the building structure.
Supply and Demand Law in the market is also crucial since in the well regulated countries (Scandinavia, Alps Countries, Canada, etc.) where timber is used the high demand has led to the need to plant more trees resulting in further improvement of the environment.
Why and how is your floor system better than the current ones?
Using timber takes my floor system ahead of most of the available solutions on the market, but making my floor system better than other timber floors was challenging. Timber is relatively expensive in comparison to reinforced concrete which makes it an unpopular building material in developing countries and this problem turned into opportunity. I invented timber hybrid floor system that is cheaper than the state-of-the-art timber floor systems by combining most effectively the different properties of wood and concrete. Raynovski floor system uses timber element only on tension and concrete only in compression causing reduction of concrete and of steel in multiple times which have a great impact on the reduction of CO2 emissions. Calculations are done by engineer Giuliano Cosner.
Why do you think timber hybrid buildings are the future of construction and can you give us a good example?
The design as “form” has been exhausted (there is no new design), the buildings’ height and glass facades are also outdated topics. Sustainability is the new trend and it can be seen in all industries due to the raise of awareness in people that resources are limited and we need to help our planet by using environmentally friendly materials. The cool buildings today are those with minimal carbon footprint and these can be achieved in two main areas: on the basis of construction materials (passive), and on the basis of integrating renewable energy sources (active), which is less critical since you can integrate them (solar, wind, ground etc) afterwards.
A great example of sustainable architecture is the Mjøstårne Project in Norway – an 18-story building made of a timber skeleton system. The building is made of 3,500 cubic metres of locally grown timber. What is fascinating is that the entire construction material used in this building takes about 29 hours to get produced from the Norwegian-managed forest.
What you wish to change in the Bulgarian construction industry?
I hope this article reaches more investors so they can understand that there has been great timber engineering progress in the past few decades and see the great potential of timber for all types of buildings, including high-rise, and thus help the world become a better place.
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