International Engineering Ambassadors
Insight into the life & course of international students.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Future Of Designing

Written By: Muhammad Zainudin

In April, the University of Sheffield’s Engieering Faculty organised a prestigious conference in collaboration with the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering. The whole day event was held in the Diamond Building with a dinner and networking session afterwards. The organising committee consisted of our dedicated lecturers who hoped to bring great ideas and networking opportunities to both industrial engineers and students. The event attracted big company sponsors such as ARUP, Mott Macdonald, EADON Consulting and OASYS with IStructE and Eckersley O’Callaghan being the prize sponsors.

The opening address was by Ian Firth, the President of the IABSE British Group and IStructE. He gave an inspirational speech about how he wanted future engineers to strive forward and make the world a better place for everyone, both aesthetically and functionally. Then, the conference started with the first keynote speaker being James O’ Callaghan, the Director of Eckersley O’Callaghan. He talked about the revolution of glass structures and the company’s collaboration with Apple Inc. in making the world’s largest glass building without joints. The second keynote speaker was Nick Francis from EADON Consulting and the last was from Steve Webb, the Director of Webb Yates. He talked about revolutionary stairs made from timber. After a coffee break the conference continued with a session from a member of the Government Security Advisor regarding Infrastructure Security. He gave a strong speech about how companies ignore infrastructure security while terrorism is an ever-present threat, which can potentially destroy lives and buildings.
In the afternoon, we had a delicious lunch prepared by the Diamond Café with a variety of different cuisines on offer. The day continued with two parallel Interactive Workshop sessions to choose from; Optimisation by Professor Matthew Gilbert and Andy Tas or Sketching-The Art of Approximation by Ron Slade, Hugh Morrison and Peter Debney. I attended the latter session and learned how to sketch and analyse a structure from different angles. I found this challenging as I am still a student but other, more experienced engineers eased their way through and their drawings were flawless. Then came the Young Designer Competition and I was eager to see the participants and what they were showcasing. Among all four competitors, I was most inspired by a female student from Sheffield Hallam University. She was the only student competing against working engineers and she presented her recent project, The Magnolia Grid Shell, very wonderfully and full of enthusiasm.

The last session was by John Roberts, the Executive Director of Operations of Jacobs UK. He is a very experienced engineer and he presented his project, Brighton i360, very professionally. Brighton i360 is the tallest moving observation platform in the world at 162m and the world’s most slender tower at diameter of 3.9m. The tower is high in aesthetic value and attracts tourists from all over the world to Brighton. The day ended with a closing ceremony by Ian Firth and awards presented to the winners of the Young Designer Competition: Adam Rich of Cullinan Studio and Ian Shepherd of Elliot Wood. They both received a year’s worth of IStructE membership and a Designer Book.

I learnt a lot at the conference and I really hope that Future of Design Sheffield will continue in the future for fellow engineering students. Many thanks to the University of Sheffield’s Engineering Faculty for organising such a wonderful event.

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