Engineers from Elliott Wood’s London headquarters took part in Open House Families on 10 June, inspiring a new generation of city-shapers with fun engineering challenges. Here they explain more about the event.
We had five engineers help deliver events for Open House Families at the Here East hub, running two activities:
Our cardboard pavilion activity showcased the fundamentals of parametric design and how modern engineers use computational tools to realise complex forms through digital fabrication.
Our straw tower building challenge pit families against each other to see who could create the tallest tower capable of supporting a marble.
The activities were designed to help families understand the fundamentals of structural engineering and how technology allows modern engineers to achieve new architectural forms.
We have supported Open House for the last fourteen years - it is a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile, not just of London’s incredible skyline and architecture, but the engineering behind them. Elliott Wood plays a big part engineering London, employing over 100 in the London area, working on high profile and groundbreaking projects like Ortus, The Ned, The Old War Office and the Pump House Pavilion in Battersea Park.
Events like Open House Families let us bridge the gap between school and real-world design solutions: engineers can link textbook STEM and art to buildings and structures that young people interact with on a daily basis.
The intricacies and creativity behind a structure can often be lost behind the beauty of the surface and so the contribution of engineers is not always fully understood. For us engineering is about lateral thinking and realising the unexpected just as much as making an architectural design work.
Engineering helps shape society and it is important this is communicated to younger generations, to inspire them and help them realise how they can have an impact on society as an engineer. This year is also an important year as the UK’s ‘Year of Engineering’ so for us it is a great opportunity.
There are lots of other ways we get the message out there: we work with Open City on a programme called “Architecture in Schools” - an education programme for primary schools where teachers are given the tools to connect engineering with the curriculum.
We have also recently partnered with Urban Learners, a programme which allows schoolchildren in year 10 to spend a week in our office, where they’re exposed to the day-to-day activities of what being an engineer entails.
We also encourage our engineers to become STEM Ambassadors – getting out there and talking to young people about the benefits of studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.
Open House Families is not just about recruiting new engineering stars – it is also about sharing our passion for London’s engineering.