Institution Education Manager, Nick Von Behr, recently helped judge a competition to find a new Pavilion Design for an amazing education initiative: Next Generation Design Brum.  

As Education Manager it’s my role to use the Institution’s worldwide reputation to help promote engineering careers to young people, particularly those with an interest in art, design, science and maths subjects. Working with our members, schools, universities, engineering firms and partner institutions, we aim to ensure young people are as informed as possible about the qualifications they need to make it in structural engineering.

Working with initiatives like Next Generation Design Brum is one of the great privileges of the job. The project was developed by Scale Rule, a voluntary initiative which boasts many Institution members, and also receives funding from the Institution in recognition of the outstanding opportunities it offers young people.

Pavilion design students

Sister to London’s highly successful project, Next Generation Design Brum provides a unique insight into the profession for secondary school students in Birmingham who might not have considered an engineering career. ScaleRule achieve this through a wonderful design and build project that’s fun, informative and lets students receive tips and tutorials from young professionals working at the peak of the profession. 

On the weekend of 1-2 July 2017, students gathered at an architect’s practice in Digbeth, Birmingham, where they were challenged to create concept sketches and models for a showpiece pavilion, presenting their designs to a panel of which I was privileged to be a member. The really inspiring element of the competition is that the design will be built for real, in Birmingham, for the public to see and enjoy. 

Scale Rule workshop underway

The two day workshop was a mix of short talks from professionals about architecture and engineering, and design workshops where the nine teams put what they’d learned into action. There was a real buzz in the room as students set to work. It’s remarkable how hearing from engineers in person excites young people who simply haven’t considered applying their studies in such a creative way. I was really struck by the imagination and attention to detail in many of the designs - as well as the fact that 70% of the students taking part were girls. 

It was extremely hard to pick a winner! The design which went forward was a small domed pavilion which will feature at the Birmingham Weekender Festival on 23-24 September in the Eastside City Park, next to the planned HS2 terminus. Keep an eye on the blog for more updates as the big event nears!

Learn more about Next Generation Design Brum

View the Institution's new education leaflet.​

Scale Rule Design Workshop 2


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