What inspired you to become a structural engineer?
I always had an interest in sketching things, particularly buildings and landscapes, and especially in watercolours. Then there is this curiosity I have in all things physics (and indeed maths).
In sixth form my career advisor heard the words "sketching, buildings, physics" and sent me to an architects’ office in the local council’s architecture department. There I came across huge drawing boards, T-squares and instant coffee.
I was totally put off by the prospect of forever using rulers to patiently draw windows and doors. I ended up working in finance. After a few years behind a desk in a bank I decided that this was equally uneventful stuff and chose to rethink my career.
After a little research, it seemed structural engineering might be an option. That was confirmed when I actually started to enjoy the stuff I was learning on my degree course.
During my dissertation research I got the chance to study three of the cornerstones of modern structural engineering; FEA, the Euler–Bernoulli beam bending theory and Euler’s buckling theory. I genuinely enjoyed learning about this stuff, right down to deriving the purest mathematical form of Euler’s second order buckling equation and its solution 𝜋2 𝐸l/𝐿2 .
It is very satisfying to not only follow the maths but also to get your head around the concept intuitively. And to think, humble equations like these are what our modern world is literally built upon.
Now here I am running my own practise, with an exciting and growing client portfolio, some great projects to brag about and exciting times ahead.
What are the greatest achievements in your career to date?
My academic studies gave me a very good start to my professional career. I stuck around in London and was lucky to come across Parmarbrook, where I picked up the skills needed to survive in the London wilderness.
Then I moved on to Fluid Structures where I came across my mentor, Mr. John Graham, and his lightbox, teaching me all sorts of crazy stuff like temporary works, and doing it all by hand.
I got to design some cool stuff too whilst there, a personal favourite being the Portsoken Pavilion, made out of Coreten steel, at Aldgate Square (by Make architects).