About this talk

Running time: 42 minutes

The young structural engineer Neil Thomas, after working with, and being influenced by Buro Happold (see The Nature Of Engineering: Part 1 and Part 2) and then Anthony Hunt (see Refining The Structure), set up his own firm Atelier One. He has enormously enjoyed working on projects of great variety, ranging from sets designed by Mark Fisher for Pink Floyd and for The Rolling Stones, to the "House" project by artist Rachel Whiteread, the roof of Singapore Art Centre by Michael Wilford (see All Change At Bilbao), the Cardiff Visitor Centre by Will Alsop, and a bridge by Lorenzo Apicella for London Docklands.

But no matter what the structural problem is, he does not attempt to solve it until he can understand it and feel it. He likes to be physically involved in the actual building, to understand how far you can push materials.

Having studied architecture as well as engineering, he feels able to understand more, in terms of conversations with architects, about what he calls the emotional side of architecture. For him engineering is a part of architecture and one has to comprehend its nature and how it works. He feels happiest working with people who don't have the need to define a separation between the roles of engineering and architecture except, of course, where there are very different tasks to be done.

Please note that a transcript of this talk is available - please contact us for further details.

Neil Thomas


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