Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Foster and Partners Integrated Design Approach for Structural Engineering

I recently read the linked Institution of Structural Engineers article with great interest hoping to learn about Foster + Partners’ internal structural engineering program. Sadly the article was a bit thin on grand strategic vision instead focusing on Foster + Partners’ recently completed Château Margaux in France. The wine making factory - given its Sir Normal Foster design credentials and nomination for a 2015 Structural Award in the commercial or retail structures category - make it one of the most expensive and elite wine-making facilities in the world. Custom details provided for the project like the “tree” columns (an image of which accompanies this post) must make the building a joy to work in. Unfortunately the subject of the article, Roger Ridsdill Smith, structural engineering program lead, had little to say on the topic of integration.
To be fair, Smith might have been very forthcoming during the interview but, for “journalistic” reasons, the interesting bits cut. The article for me boils down to Smith’s claim the best projects arise from a “totally integrated approach”. It’s 2015 and I just don’t think that statement is groundbreaking anymore. Isn’t multi-disciplinary integration assumed to be a best practice in building design? Are people making arguments to the contrary I’m not aware of? What I was really hoping for from the article was insights on how to best bring the project team together for common cause and what obstacles can normally be expected.

To that end, The Perfect Architecture Company blog invites Roger Smith to be interviewed here about integration in the building design process should he wish to share his thoughts on this important matter to a grateful audience. 

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