IABSE Annual Lecture 2019: "What We Do"


This Year's IABSE Annual Lecture is a special one; we'll be treated to a lecture by Guy Nordenson, followed by dinner aboard a boat on the Thames!

This then is the engineer’s principal destructive weakness, to play Iago to the architect, or indeed to another engineer, Othello.” – Peter Rice, 1992

The role of the structural engineer today bears similarities to that diagnosed by Peter Rice near the end of his career, but it has also changed. Since the early 1990s - with the emergence of the World Wide Web and the digital transformation of work and play - we have seen engineers from Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg disrupt commerce and culture. These are today’s equivalents of the Victorian entrepreneur-engineers Brunel and Eiffel.

The necessary adaptation of our planet to the changing climate – regardless of even the most radical future mitigation measures – will require physical transformations comparable in scale to the recent digital revolution, and the earlier Industrial Revolution. It is clear that engineers will need to play a leading role in that adaptation revolution, and not that of Iago or Othello.

Guy Nordenson is a structural engineer and professor at Princeton University. Recent projects include the Kimbell Art Museum, the Menil Drawing Center and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. He has led research projects on coastal resilience and climate adaptation and co-written three books: On the Water|Palisade Bay (2010), Structures of Coastal Resilience (2018) and Four Corridors (2019). Nordenson has co-curated exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art including “Tall Building” (2004) and “Rising Currents” (2010) and published Tall Buildings (2003), The Felix Candela Lectures (MoMA 2008) and Structured Lineages: Learning from Japanese Structural Design (2019).

He was awarded the AIA’s Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement Award, was Bernoudy Fellow at the American Academy in Rome and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. From 2006 to 2015 he was Commissioner of the NYC Public Design Commission and is a currently member of the NYC Panel on Climate Change.


Event Information

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Event Date

17:00 registration - 17:30 lecture - 19:00 optional boat trip & dinner

£0.00 - £75.00

The Institution of Structural Engineers International HQ 47-58 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PS

Guy Nordenson, Professor of Structural Engineering & Architecture, Princeton University

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Optional post-lecture boat trip and dinner:
This three-hour cruise includes dinner and drinks, and provides plenty of opportunity for networking and discussion.  

Tickets are available for the lecture only, dinner only, or both. 

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