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Koumtcheva Takes on Residential Sustainability for Fulbright Scholarship

Ana Koumtcheva.Ana Koumtcheva, a graduating senior in civil and environmental engineering with a minor in architecture, will be heading to Bulgaria this fall to pursue a Fulbright Scholarship for a deeper study of the overlap of those two disciplines.

Koumtcheva, who is of Bulgarian descent and fluent in the language, is most passionate about merging her passions in civil engineering and architecture to research mass residential construction with an eye for environmental sustainability.

Bulgarian homes built during the late 19th century will provide an excellent source for research, since they were constructed with sustainability principles in mind.

“I’m very interested in mass development such as residential construction,” she said. “The way we do it in the US is actually a pretty lacking in sustainability policies, and there’s an absence of architects and engineers in that area. During the Bulgarian Revival, the country flourished economically and culturally, and due to a massive preservation effort of buildings from this period, there is a large amount of preserved, long-lasting homes to study and bring insight to US mass construction.”

The Bulgarian homes she’ll be studying were built with resources local to the area they were constructed in, and even the trees surrounding them were planted with regard to shielding it from the elements and providing natural light.

Her research will be based in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, at the New Bulgarian University, under guidance from the dean of architecture and an architect with a private firm. However, Koumtcheva’s research will take her to different climatic zones in the country to study a range of sustainable constructions.