Vesela Tanaskovic ‘My story’

This is how my story goes

Ever since I was a child I really, really, liked nice furniture and interesting plants. As a third grader, 9 years of age, I founded an environmental club in my school. It was a board on which everyone could post their ideas on how we could improve the cleaning of our environment, the nearby park, and our schoolyard; we even had our own police there for a little while, targeting the litter bugs! So ever since I can remember I was concerned about the environment and the preservation of our planet.

Plants and Furniture

I decided to study architecture as it was the logical link to my two great loves… architecture was also the closest link to furniture design I had in my home town, while I decided to continue my self-education/experiments in my own garden.
Soon after enrolling to university I realised I found myself in architecture!

Architecture

I loved it! In 2009 I received the Best Student Award for interior design from the Architectural Association of Nis and the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture Nis for the design of a scuba diving tours agency. My design consisted of lots of underwater plant life and furniture.

By this time I had already fallen deeply in love with buildings, their form, their design, their structure, and the purpose they serve and will serve in preserving the environment and the planet for future generations, and in 2010 I decided to embrace this passion fully. I did this by carefully choosing my majors to be in sustainable building construction, living interiors and landscape planning so as I could incorporate as much living organisms into my designs as possible. In December of that year I graduated with the best mark attainable, 10 out of 10 in all subjects.

Zero CO2 Hollywood Mansion

My diploma thesis was called “Zero CO2 Hollywood Mansion”, and dealt with the introduction of sustainability and environmental preservation into the homes of popular Hollywood A-listers, wanting to involve a social issue into my thesis, a one of stars being impersonated in real life. I wanted to point out that if funny and perhaps immature behaviour can be used and manipulated so as to help the planet’s preservation, this would not be such a bad thing after all. For example, like when after Angelina Jolie adopted her first child, the adoption rates in the entire western world skyrocketed by 30%, this wasn’t a bad thing. Now, 5 years later, there’s another example involving the same actress and breast cancer screening, where the percentage of women going for a screening went up 30% in the wake of Jolie’s activism. My point was to argue that if we could somehow grab the attention of a famous Hollywood celebrity, we as the people that care about this planet, green architects and environmentalists, would be able to reach a far greater audience than working on hundreds of individual green projects, as many more people would want to have a green and sustainable house that would respect the environment and help save the planet. For this to happen all we would need is one very popular figure, just one, that could rewrite history. Don’t forget we are a generation raised on television, computers and all types of electronics, and are easily influenced (and manipulated) for better or for worse.
With this project I later applied for the Holcim Awards for sustainable construction and received a Certificate of Participation 2011 for “Conceptual design for zero CO2 Hollywood mansion” California, United States, project in the “Next Generation” category.

It was at Gramont Inzenjering that my journey as an architect began, and until 2012 I worked there first as an intern and later as Architect. In 2012 I was promoted to the position of Research Architect.

Water

Whilst working simultaneously on my diploma thesis and as an Assistant Architect at Gramont Inzenjering, I became (re)acquainted with an old/new love of mine, water. Water management, wastewater treatment and management, and water preservation, to be precise.
As an environmentalist, my first look at Gramont’s wastewater treatment plant filled me with excitement. I knew I had to learn more on the subject and wanted to research further in order to push the boundaries and explore them closely. My efforts didn’t go unnoticed and during the development of my diploma thesis I chose LA as the location for my mansion, meaning great water shortages and a need for water preservation. Soon the opportunity to delve even deeper into this topic arose. Together with the main water engineer at Gramont Inzenjering, I successfully explored the option to transform their 5000 ES unit for wastewater treatment into a single house unit, producing the perfect cherry on top for my Zero CO2 Hollywood Mansion design.

This challenging experience led to my new engagement and further improvement and interest in the field of water preservation and in 2011 the idea for my PhD thesis was born. In December of that year I met with my now mentor Prof. Georg Hauger in Vienna, and arranged for the beginning of my PhD studies, my new raison d’être.

‘Making the Sahara Desert Green’

It has everything I am interested in, all my loves bound together: architecture, land and water preservation, the environment, landscape design, and plants. My PhD is on afforestation of the Sahara desert, as you might have guessed from the title; developing a sustainable solution for irrigating vast desert landscapes to slowly influence the local climate which in turn will influence the global climate to mitigate the effects of global warming. Thinking globally acting locally in all its glory.

It was a dream come through and my hobby had turned into my profession now that I had managed to fully incorporate plant life into my engineering and architectural designs. With everything that I have I am trying, and will continue to try, to save this planet for us and for our children, making it each day a healthier and better place to live. Soon, I will receive my doctorate degree from the Technical University of Vienna and I am looking forward to engaging on an even deeper level with the challenges of our time.

My little gardening experiments that led me down this path in the first place have also led me to a new and interesting symbiosis between plants and furniture, check it out here, my very first edible sustainable painting.
If you are interested in seeing my CV just click here or if you want to hire me click here and see the range of services I offer.

Thank you for reading, and seeing as you have made it this far maybe you would like to contact me.

Sincerely yours,

Vesela Tanaskovic