Professor Andy Buchanan
Professor Andy Buchanan is a University of Canterbury engineer who is set to transform the look and feel of the buildings of the future.
Professor Buchanan researches new methods of constructing commercial multi-story buildings with timber. Timber is a lighter and more environmentally-friendly building material that can be stronger and safer in earthquakes than traditional concrete and steel structures that currently dominate the building landscape.
Professor Buchanan believes his success in research comes from the integration of a wide range of complementary interests developed over several years.
'At different stages of my professional and academic career I have been involved in various aspects of structural design of many buildings, concentrating separately on earthquake engineering, fire safety, timber structures and carbon footprint,' he said.
In recent years all of these have come together into a new programme on design of multi-storey timber buildings, where he draws on the wide range of complementary research topics.
As a teacher he works hard to develop 'context-based teaching'. 'That means that everything I teach has a context to which the students can relate. For example I may say 'Next holiday your father will ask you to design a new garage for the cars and the boat at home. You are an Engineering student, so how will you help him?'
Recently Professor Buchanan has been awarded a Queens Service Medal for Public Services and shared best research paper at the 2008 New Zealand Earthquake Engineering Conference.
Professor Buchanan is past-president of the New Zealand Timber Design Society, a Fellow of IPENZ and the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE), a member of the Structural Engineering Society (SESOC), Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), Canterbury Structural Group committee, and is on the editorial board of Fire and Materials Journal and Journal of Wood Science.