Somerset College of Art and Technology is home to the Genesis Project, a college building dedicated to the practical and theoretical teaching of sustainable construction methods. The project was won in competition in 2002 with the philosophy that the building should be an education in itself; that it should be an opportunity to put into practice many of the materials and techniques that the building was proposing to teach and that the construction of the building should be on display to the extent that finishes were stripped back in some areas to show the hidden structure and materials behind.
Particular requirements from the client's brief were that the building was to be adaptable internally without major structural alteration and use materials with low embodied energy and renewable resources. For a structural engineer, this project presented a number of challenges. This paper describes the conceptual thinking, detailed design and practical activities the structural engineer undertook in delivering this unique building.
Claire Thomas, Associate Director - Ramboll Whitbybird